US President scrambles to fix flaws in Obamacare

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Scrambling to fix flaws in his signature healthcare law, President Barack Obama on Thursday announced a plan to let insurance companies renew for one year the health plans for consumers whose policies would be otherwise canceled.

White House officials who briefed reporters before Mr Obama spoke said insurance companies may extend through 2014 the policies that would not meet the minimum standards of the president's Affordable Care Act.

Millions of Americans have been getting cancellation notices from insurance companies because their insurance plans do not meet the standards set out in the Obamacare law, creating a political crisis for Mr Obama.

Senior White House officials said it will be left up to insurance commissioners in individual states to allow the Obamacare fix to go ahead, and will be up to insurance companies to renew plans that have already been canceled.

Insurance companies must tell policy holders that their plans do not meet the new minimum standards and must inform them about other options on the new marketplaces, including the availability of subsidies to help them pay their insurance costs, the officials said.

The fix only applies to those who have lost their insurance coverage. Insurance companies may not offer such plans to other Americans because it would undermine the Affordable Care Act, the officials said.