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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Obamacare Troubles

At the rate the signups are going — even with the speedier, newly functioning Obamacare website — the administration has a vast distance to travel before the estimated 4 to 5 million people with canceled policies get new health coverage.

In fact, health care experts say, it’s not out of the question that the Obama administration could face the worst-case scenario on Jan. 1: the number of uninsured Americans actually goes up.

That’s a long shot, and there are plenty of reasons why it might not happen, since there are other ways those people could replace their health coverage, like signing up directly with insurers. Not all of the policies will expire in December. And even if the ranks of the uninsured did increase, it could be such a brief event that no one would ever be able to confirm it.
But even with all the variables, one thing is for certain: the Obama administration has one seriously long road to travel from the signups it has now to the number who will likely need to replace their coverage. That’s a bad place to be, given that the point of the law was to cover more people, not fewer people.
CNN reports:
Just because you've picked an Obamacare insurance policy doesn't mean you've got coverage.
If you want to be insured come Jan. 1, you have to pay your first month's premium by your insurer's due date, often Dec. 31.

Sounds simple enough, but federal officials and insurers are concerned that many consumers don't realize they have to take this last step and will remain uninsured. What's more, those who don't pay by then may have their Obamacare applications terminated, forcing them to re-enroll via healthcare.gov for coverage that will begin later in 2014.
The tight deadline and continuing errors with consumers' applications being sent to insurers also risk leaving some folks uncovered. Obama administration officials are advising consumers to check with their insurer of choice to make sure it received their application and payment and that coverage will begin Jan. 1.

Politico also reports on state-level problems:
It’s a new twist in the unfolding saga of so-called 834 forms — industry jargon for the application files that insurers receive when someone signs up for coverage through an exchange.

Insurers in Kentucky and New York, for example, say they’ve received flawed 834 enrollment forms from their local exchanges, though the extent of the errors is unclear. Washington state has already had to correct thousands of 834s with faulty information about federal tax credits.
Several state exchanges waited until late last month to even start sending application data to insurers, meaning potential errors haven’t had much time to surface.
At the least, these issues run counter to the popular storyline: that states’ enrollment systems have vastly outperformed the Obama administration’s effort. At the worst, they could endanger coverage for thousands of people who think they’re already enrolled for the start of 2014.
Gallup reports:
After two months of glitches with the new federal healthcare website and attempts to fix it, the percentage of Americans who prefer that Congress scale back or entirely repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or "Obamacare," has changed little. Fifty-two percent favor scaling back (20%) or repealing (32%) the law, similar to the 50% from mid-October.
At least half of Americans have said they would repeal or scale back the law each time Gallup has asked this question since January 2011.

The latest results are from a Gallup poll conducted Dec. 3-4, after a tumultuous two months for the Obama administration's healthcare website. Technical issues hamstrung potential buyers from purchasing health insurance through the website.