NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Granting of Waivers Shows ObamaCare Contradictions

February 14, 2011

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) requires insurance policies to meet federal standards.  One of these requirements is that, starting in 2014, insurance plans must provide coverage without imposing any annual or lifetime limits on the amount paid to individual beneficiaries.  During the transition years between now and 2014, however, insurance firms can impose annual limits, subject to Health and Human Services (HHS) rules, say John Hoff, former deputy assistant secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, and John E. Calfee, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

  • HHS recently announced that in December it had granted more than 500 waivers for 2011 from its specification of the permitted annual limit because forcing these plans to meet the requirement would result in "large" increases in premiums or "significant" decreases in access to insurance coverage.
  • This brings the total number of waivers it has granted to 733, providing exceptions for 2.1 million enrolled Americans.
  • The fact that HHS has felt it necessary to grant these waivers tells volumes about ObamaCare,perhaps more than HHS may realize.

The waivers demonstrate Health and Human Services' recognition that, in 733 instances (to date), requiring insurers to meet its payout regulation for 2011 will make coverage too expensive or impair access to coverage.  If waivers are necessary to keep 733 insurance plans in place now, think of what will be necessary in 2013, when the amount policies must cover in a year will be nearly three times that cost, say Hoff and Calfee.

Source: John Hoff and John E. Calfee, "The Contradictions of ObamaCare," The American, February 10, 2011.

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