The Obama administration has quietly delayed until 2015 yet another significant portion of Obamacare that would put a cap on patient out-of-pocket costs.
The limit on out-of-pocket expenses was not to have exceeded $6,350 for an individual and $12,700 for a family, however, the New York Times reports, federal officials placed a one-year delay on these caps providing insurers the ability to set their own limits in 2014.
The delay was noted on the Department of Labor’s website since February, however, as the Times notes, it went unnoticed until now.
In 2009, Obama touted the provision to cap out-of-pocket expenses.
“We’ll place a limit on how much you can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses, because no one in America should go broke because they get sick,” Obama said in an August 2009 weekly address; a sentiment Obama repeated that September before a joint session of Congress, the Times reported.
An unnamed senior administration official explained the delay to The Times by saying that companies need to upgrade their computer systems.
“We knew this was an important issue,” the official said. “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.”
The revelation comes at a tenuous time for the administration as it tries to keep the ball rolling in preparation for the opening of the health care exchanges on Oct. 1 and continues to face Republican opposition to the sweeping law — with House Republicans voting for the 40th time to denude Obamacare before they left for recess and some GOP lawmakers threatening to hold up funding for the law.
This most recently revealed delay comes after the administration has already delayed the employer mandate and some of the eligibility verification requirements.