JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Only 45 days after the government healthcare website launched, President Barack Obama made a surprising admission Thursday.
"We fumbled the roll out on this healthcare law … I understand why folks are frustrated. I would be too."
During the speech, the president also announced that more than 300,000 Floridians, who were recently told their health insurance policies would be canceled because they did not meet new coverage mandates, could keep their policies.
"State insurance commissioners still have the power to decide what plans can and can't be sold in their states. The bottom line is, insurers can extend current plans that would otherwise be canceled into 2014 and Americans whose plans have been canceled can choose to re-enroll in the same kind of plan," said President Obama during a speech Thursday afternoon.
Action News went to Paul Saunders, president of FloridaHealthcare.us, to find out exactly what that means for individuals and companies who aren't sure what to do.
The announcement doesn't mean insurance companies will continue to offer those existing plans, so the answers, Saunders says, still aren't clear.
"We started moving in one direction and now all of a sudden the government is saying, 'hey, we can take a big step back,' and the financial repercussions to the carriers could be very big."
Gov. Rick Scott issued this statement following the president's speech:
"The patchwork changes President Obama announced to his healthcare law today amount to nothing more than kicking the can down the road for 300,000 Florida families who are losing the insurance plans the president told them they could keep. What happens to these families in a year? Will these families still see their insurance costs go up? President Obama's changes to his own law will likely be the first of many. It is a bad law."
Despite all the changes, Saunders says it doesn't appear the law is going away.
"I don't think the White House is going to allow it. I don't think the Senate is going to agree to it."
So for now, individuals will just have to continue to wait and see what happens next.
"Whether or not the president's speech administratively does anything to solve the issue, I don't know, and I don't think Congress knows right now," Saunders said.
Florida Blue announced late Thursday afternoon that individual members may extend through 2014 their existing policies that were scheduled to be discontinued due to non-compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Floridians will continue to have a choice to select new coverage plans available under the ACA.
"Florida Blue has been an advocate for our members and we complied with the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, which called for the inclusion of essential health benefits in all individual plans. We notified impacted members and offered them the option of comparable and compliant plans giving them access to a wide variety of choices to meet their individual health care needs. Additionally, we offered a number of choices for members to learn about the new options: in-person, online or by phone," said Pat Geraghty, chairman and CEO of Florida Blue.
"In conjunction with President Obama's announcement today, Florida Blue will allow individual members to continue their existing health care coverage or explore new plan options under the ACA. Affected members will receive new letters from Florida Blue informing them that they can continue to utilize their existing plan through 2014. Florida Blue is currently examining the impact on small group plans."