“What we want to do is to be able to say to these folks, you know what, the Affordable Care Act is not going to be the reason why insurers have to cancel your plan. Now, what folks may find is the insurance companies may still come back and say, we want to charge you 20 percent more than we did last year, or we’re not going to cover prescription drugs now.”
The trap here, however, is that Obama has given insurers the ability to renew plans for an extra year only after they had designed their new plans and calculated their prices on the assumption that the old plans were being phased out. So to take the President up on his offer to renew plans, insurance companies would have to recalculate their prices, rework all their packages, and do a lot of paperwork in a very short time frame. Many think this would be impossible to do.So, needless to say, insurers are not happy with the President right now. And if they do manage to make the fix work as advertised, it would drive up premiums in the exchanges: people who already had insurance would stay on their old plans, leaving more of the previously uninsured, who are more likely to have pre-existing conditions.Obama’s only hope now is that he can convince people to blame the insurers for that rather than himself, and that may have been one of the central political aims of this move.