The limit on out-of-pocket costs, including deductibles and co-payments, was not supposed to exceed $6,350 for an individual and $12,700 for a family. But under a little-noticed ruling, federal officials have granted a one-year grace period to some insurers, allowing them to set higher limits, or no limit at all on some costs, in 2014.
It’s important not to make too much of ACA road bumps like this one. Resist the temptation to join implacable Obamacare opponents who will claim this as more evidence that the ACA is the worst law ever passed. That’s clearly an exaggeration, and one that could backfire.Nevertheless, this news shows that the implementation challenges aren’t going away anytime soon. On the contrary, they are only piling up as time passes. That’s a serious fact ACA supporters will have to grapple with. Even more importantly, both the mandate and the cap delay—along with whatever other delays we may see in the coming weeks—mean that only some parts of Obamacare will be going into effect this fall. People will be shopping on the exchanges without the full law in place.How exactly this will affect public perception of the law isn’t clear yet, but it could wind up creating unexpected incentives and consequences that will bedevil the law throughout next year.