Local reaction to the President's Affordable Care Act changes

The President steps up to make good on his promise to keep Americans insured. Across the country people found out their insurance was canceled because it didn't meet the new healthcare guidelines. On Thursday the President said Americans will be able to keep those non-compliant plans for another year.

To watch the President's speech click here.

Many FOX25 viewers commented on our Facebook page wondering if the President was legally allowed to extend non-compliant plans for another year. The answer may not be so black and white.

"There are a lot of questions now, a lot of unknowns. A lot of uncertainty in the insurance market," said OU College of Health professor Steve Mattachione. We asked him about President Obama's statement that those with canceled insurance plans can still keep them for a year.

"Can the President administratively modify the statute that was enacted by congress? I don't know the answer," said Mattachione.

Mattachione says the President didn't make it a mandate for insurance companies to continue policies, so he thinks some families' cancellation notices my be permanent.

While many affects of the Affordable Care Act are yet to be seen, there are local families that have compliant plans who are already feeling the pinch.

"It affects the people that currently have insurance that now aren't going to be able to afford the insurance," said Norman mother of four Mary Stanley. She recently received a notice from Blue Cross Blue Shield saying her employee sponsored rates were going up.

"They are $623 right now. When the policy ends and it's time to renew, they will go up to almost $1,400 a month," said Stanley.

Stanley says she was in favor of the Affordable Care Act. In fact, her mother is thrilled with her new coverage. But she never expected it would hit her family so hard.

"Going from being able to afford healthcare for your family and then suddenly being hit with the fact that you're not going to be able to afford it anymore, it's devastating," Stanley said.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma did send FOX25 a statement saying, "We've been working to offer our affected members continued coverage and will comply with any new requirements. We are reviewing today's announcement and determining next steps as we keep our members informed of their options both on and off the exchange. At the same time, we will continue to work with the federal and state government on how this approach may be implemented in Oklahoma. Our primary goal is maintaining access to quality, affordable health care for our members and we will continue to support solutions that assure there are no disruptions in health insurance for our existing members.

Oklahoma's insurance commissioner John Doak also released a statement, "How can the federal government make this decision without offering any guidance to the state insurance departments or the insurance carriers? Cancellation notices have already gone out. Rates and plans have already been approved. How is this supposed to work? There are a lot of unanswered questions right now."

To read more about the President's comments on Thursday click here.

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