113th Congress, Vote 587; House of Representatives #3350
Keep Your Health Plan Act of 2013
Official Title: To authorize health insurance issuers to continue to offer for sale current individual health insurance coverage in satisfaction of the minimum essential health insurance coverage requirement, and for other purposes.
HR 3350: Keep Your Health Plan Act of 2013
Passed by the House Nov. 15, 2013, 261-157 (12 abstensions).
Synopsis: Under the ACA, individual and small group policies that don’t comply with the ACA’s regulations cannot be sold or renewed after December 31, 2013. This is true both inside and outside the ACA-created exchanges. As a result, many health plans were slated for cancellation in the fall of 2013. President Obama had previously stated that "if you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan" so the policy cancellations created a significant uproar.
Although the title of the bill implies that it would allow people to keep their existing health insurance policies, there is nothing in the legislation that would require health insurance carriers to renew non-ACA-compliant coverage after December 31, 2013. And although the law wouldn’t necessarily mean that people could actually keep their non-compliant health plans in 2014, it would allow carriers the option to sell such coverage to new applicants after December 31, 2013.
This bill would allow health insurance carriers to continue to sell and renew non-ACA-compliant coverage outside of the exchanges in 2014, as long as the plan had been available for sale since at least January 1, 2013. Such plans would be considered grandfathered under the ACA, and would be deemed to provide minimum essential coverage, so their insureds would not be subject to the individual mandate penalty.
Why supporters pushed for this bill
- Following the disastrous launch of the ACA’s exchanges and the slew of cancellation notices for people with non-ACA-compliant plans, supporters of HR 3350 were eager to find some sort of solution that allowed people the option to avoid the regulations imposed by the ACA.
- Some supporters of HR 3350 saw it as a way to chip away at the ACA’s regulations and make way for an eventual repeal.
- People facing higher premiums in the ACA-compliant market would have a chance to keep their old health insurance plan under HR 3350 (although there was no requirement that this be the case), and possibly have lower premiums in 2014 than they would without this legislation.
- House Speaker John Boehner called HR 3350 "a big, bipartisan statement about the need to make things right." regarding the implementation of the ACA and the President’s promise that people would be able to keep their health plans if they chose to do so.
Why opponents tried to stop the bill
- Overhauling the insurance industry with new consumer protections was a significant aspect of the ACA. To that end, the law requires that all new individual and small group plans conform to the ACA’s regulations as of January 1, 2014. HR 3350 would allow carriers to continue "business as usual" outside the exchanges in 2014, including medical underwriting, premiums based on gender, and coverage that doesn’t include the ten essential health benefits. Opponents of HR 3350 see this as a serious detriment to consumers.
- HR 3350 is viewed by some as a step toward repealing the ACA.
- Many health insurers had already issued policy cancellations when the bill was introduced in late October. It’s unlikely that they would want to go through the administrative challenge of reviving those plans, or that they would want to take the risk of undercutting enrollment in their new ACA-compliant plans by continuing to offer old plans. So the likelihood that people would actually be able to keep their plans – that would otherwise be cancelled – as a result of HR 3350 is slim.
- The day before the House voted on HR 3350, the Obama Administration announced a transitional relief measure that allowed non-grandfathered plans to remain in force in 2014. The HHS proposal left the final decision up to each state, and it did not allow for the sale of non-compliant plans after December 31, 2013. But in terms of allowing people to keep their existing health plans, it essentially eliminated the need for HR 3350.
|11/15/2013||Status: House passed|
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|Not Voting (12)|