Obamacare Individual Mandate Delay Announced

An Obamacare individual mandate delay for some Americans whose health insurance policies were canceled has been announced by the Obama administration.

Those consumers who buy their coverage on the individual market and were booted from their insurance plan can apply for a so-called hardship exemption. This latest Obamacare delay applies only to those who have yet to find new coverage.

It apparently doesn’t give any relief to those who have already been forced into signing up for far more expensive coverage as a result of the Affordable Care Act mandates, unless perhaps they can try to opt out. It also doesn’t apply to those whose existing plans have been renewed but with sharply increased premiums.

Certainly, it is somewhat ironic that Obamacare supporters and their media allies tried to shout down Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and others for trying to delay Obamacare, yet the administration itself has unilaterally issued various postponements — including the enrollment and payment deadlines — which according to some legal observers are of questionable constitutionality.

Millions upon millions of Americans will also encounter major disruptions in their employer-based coverage in the 2014 run-up to the employer mandate implementation, which was also delayed for one year.

In what has developed into a major, ongoing controversy, President Obama repeatedly declared “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan” when he was selling healthcare reform via the Affordable Care Act to the American people. The administration later authorized a one-year postponement for those terminated policies, but most state regulators declined to go along with it.

Under this latest Obamacare individual mandate delay, based on political pressure from Democrats up for re-election in 2014, “individuals who saw their old plans canceled will be able to purchase bare-bones coverage, according to a source connected with the health industry.”

These are the some of the same plans that Obamacare supporters previously dismissed or mischaracterized as “substandard” or “junk.”

According to the Washington Post, “This… change, prompted by a group of Democratic senators — most of whom face tough reelection campaigns next year — goes substantially further in accommodating people upset about losing their policies. The latest rule will allow consumers with a canceled health plan to claim a ‘hardship exemption’ if they think the plans sold through new federal and state marketplaces are too expensive.”

Although no one has or had much regard for the insurance industry either pre- or post-Obamacare, this latest announcement poses an administrative nightmare for insurers as well as potentially undermining the whole funding mechanism of Obamacare in the first place.

The Legal Insurrection website posed this query about the Obamacare mandate:

“I have a question for Obama, Sebelius, and the rest: if the individual policies cancelled were such terrible ‘junk,’ why are you allowing those who originally had them to purchase a type of policy you defined as “junk” in the first place? Might it be because catastrophic insurance can sometimes be a valid choice for people, and not ‘junk’ at all? Furthermore, why not just let anyone who wants to do so purchase a catastrophic plan? Wouldn’t that be a novel idea?”

Should every American get a hardship waiver from the Obamacare individual mandate?