A little-noticed answer to one of 137 "frequently asked questions about Affordable Care Act [ACA] implementation" posted on the website of the Department of Labor (DOL) since February has allowed insurers to delay implementation of caps on out-of-pocket expenses on their health insurance policies until 2015.

The dollar limitations, originally scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2014, were set at $6,350 for individuals and $12,700 for families for a plan year's deductibles and copays. Insurers are now free to set higher, or even no, limits on their policies, until 2015.

The FAQ waiver went largely unnoticed by the public, but insurers quickly discovered it and acted accordingly. The one-year-grace period has since been confirmed by the DOL, according to a report published in today's The New York Times.

The FAQ answer allows insurers to set separate caps for doctors' services and prescription drugs. Thus, for instance, an individual could be liable for $6,350 for doctor/hospital care and another $6,350 for drugs; families could face twin liabilities of $12,700. And here's another catch: If an insurer has not yet set a limit on drug costs, it will not have to impose one for 2014, thus flinging wide out potential out-of-pocket consumer expenses until 2015.

The separate caps issue, according to federal officials, arose because many insurers use separate computer systems for doctor and drug accounting, and the systems are not set up to communicate with one another.