Health care extension buys time for insurance customers - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Health care extension buys time for insurance customers

President Obama said Thursday that millions of Americans should be allowed to renew individual coverage plans now ticketed for cancellation. (Source: MGN) President Obama said Thursday that millions of Americans should be allowed to renew individual coverage plans now ticketed for cancellation. (Source: MGN)
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

Health experts say the extension of current health care plans that would otherwise have been canceled under the Affordable Care Act takes some pressure off consumers, and gives people time to figure out what is best for them.

Mary Elizabeth Marr is the CEO of the AIDS Action Coalition in Huntsville. The coalition has been given one of the grants to have a 'navigator' on-site for people who are looking for insurance or wanting to change their current plan.

Now that the President has said there is a possible fix for people whose insurance plans were canceled due to the Affordable Care Act, Marr said it gives people the chance to take the time to look and see what they want to change. 

"It still behooves everybody to go on the marketplace and get signed up with another plan, but their plan is not going to end on Dec. 31," said Marr.  "It's not the pressure of needing to do something today.  We were looking at a December 15th deadline in order to get people signed up by January 1st.  So there's a little bit of breathing room. The market place website is working much better than it was two weeks ago and we are getting people through the system."

President Obama said his fix won't solve every problem for every person, but it will help a lot of people.  Help that Marr said is needed.

"Everyone wants to just throw it away and that's not what we need to do we need to keep working on the problem because it is a problem that people don't have insurance," she said. 

The President said there are currently 40 million Americans without health insurance.  Marr said it's unknown if the enrollment period will be impacted by the year extension. Americans currently have until March 31st to sign up for a plan, but they have to pay for a plan by December 15th for coverage to start January 1st.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama had 97,000 individual customers whose policies didn't meet the requirements of the new law and were being moved to new policies.

In regards to the President's Thursday announcement regarding the deadline extension, Blue Cross Blue Shield said: 

We are reviewing the President's statement and evaluating its impact on our requirements for implementing the ACA.

Copyright 2013 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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