Key Consumer Protection In Obamacare Delayed

Source: Stephanie Condon / CBS News

The Obama administration has quietly delayed another key element of the Affordable Care Act, the New York Times reported Tuesday, exempting some insurers for a year from the new limit on out-of-pocket expenses.

The Affordable Care Act, signed into law in 2010, explicitly set annual limits — $6,350 for individuals and $12,700 for a family — on out-of-pocket expenses. Mr. Obama touted the reform as one of the many consumer protections his sweeping health care law would include to make insurance more affordable.

Now, however, some insurers won’t have to follow the limits until 2015, giving them more time to adjust their computer processing systems to the new requirements. The Times notes that the exemption has been posted on the Labor Department’s website since February “in a maze of legal and bureaucratic language that went largely unnoticed.” Indeed, the Labor Department site acknowledges that some health “plans may utilize multiple service providers to help administer benefits,” suggesting they need more time to comply.

The limit on out-of-pocket expenses was a huge selling point for patients suffering from conditions with costly treatments, including cancer or Multiple Sclerosis.

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