Obamacare Limit on Consumer Costs To Be Delayed a Year

Tuesday, 13 Aug 2013 09:29 AM

By Melanie Batley

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The implementation of Obamacare is suffering another setback,  after it was discovered that a rule establishing a maximum limit in the out-of-pocket expenses people may have to spend on their own health care will be delayed until 2015.

The health care law stipulates that individuals will not have to spend more than $6,350 per year on their own, including deductibles and co-payments, while families would not spend more than $12,700.

But a little noticed rule in the legislation grants a one-year grace period to some insurers, allowing them to set higher limits or no limits at all on some costs in 2014, The New York Times reports.

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The clause was established on the premise that insurers and employers may need more time to streamline the way they administer coverage and upgrade their computer systems to centrally keep track of individual out-of-pocket expenditures.

"We knew this was an important issue. We had to balance the interests of consumers with the concerns of health plan sponsors and carriers, which told us that their computer systems were not set up to aggregate all of a person's out-of-pocket costs. They asked for more time to comply," an unnamed senior administration official told the Times.

The delay is bad news particularly for people with chronic illnesses, including cancer and disabilities, many whom have tens of thousands of dollars a year in out-of-pocket expenses for treatment and medications.

The news represents the second significant delay in the roll-out of the president's signature health care plan. In July, the administration announced it will not require employers to provide health insurance for their workers until 2015, prompting a wave a criticism about the viability of the law and the renewal of calls to repeal the program.



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