Without that step, the plans would have become illegal in 2014, but the severe tech problems of the federal Obamacare website and some state-run sites had made it effectively impossible for many people to shop for and buy insurance to replace their old plans.
Under the new rule, people who maintain those plans -- and renew them as late as 10/1/2016 -- will be able to keep them until as late as 2017. The Administration said on Wednesday that the extension now includes people in the small-group market, whose employers will start becoming subject to Obamacare's mandates in 2015. The administration said it would be up to individual states to allow the extension, and whether to include both individuals and small group members in the waiver or just one category.
- Americans also have an extra month to take advantage of Obamacare's open enrollment for next year. It now will run from 11/15/2014 to 2/15/2015.
- So far, about 4 million people have bought private insurance plans sold on government-run exchanges and an unknown number have bought ACA-compliant plans outside the exchanges.