Monthly Archives: June 2013

Librarian foot soldiers enlisted to help with Obamacare enrollment

Librarian foot soldiers enlisted to help with Obamacare enrollment – Washington Times.

The nation’s librarians will be recruited to help people get signed up for insurance under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. Up to 17,000 U.S. libraries will be part of the effort to get information and crucial computer time to the millions of uninsured Americans who need to get coverage under the law.

This sums it up nicely…

“Frankly whether we’re prepared or not, it’s going to happen, so the best way for us to serve the public is to prepare ahead of time,” Hildreth said.

Lissa Staley, a librarian in Topeka, Kan., specializes in health information, and already is helping people figure out their insurance options.

“I talked to a woman this morning who said, ‘I’m a single mom. I make too much money to qualify for Medicaid and my employer will only let me work part time.’ I gave her my card and we’re going to sort through some of her options,” Staley said.

Perhaps librarians should be trained as navigators. Also, don’t forget your local life and health agents!

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They can always buy advertising

NFL Rejects Obama Admin: We Wont Promote Obamacare.

We have responded to the letters we received from members of Congress to inform them we currently have no plans to engage in this area and have had no substantive contact with the administration about PPACA’s implementation.

Currently the Colorado exchange, Connect for Health Colorado, is buying plenty of advertising on Colorado Rockies games, both television and radio.

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Nearly 1,200 people have starved to death in NHS hospitals

As many as 1,165 people starved to death in NHS hospitals over the past four years fuelling claims nurses are too busy to feed their patients. The Department of Health branded the figures unacceptable and said the number of unannounced inspections by the care watchdog will increase.

via Nearly 1,200 people have starved to death in NHS hospitals because nurses are too busy to feed patients | Mail Online.

Tragic, at least it’s “unacceptable”! NHS is the government run health care system in the United Kingdom.

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Uninsured uninformed about Obamacare

Gallup: In U.S., 43% of Uninsured Unaware They Must Get Coverage.

The vast majority of Americans, 81%, say they are aware of the 2010 Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) requirement that most Americans must carry health insurance or pay a fine. Americans who are currently uninsured — those most directly affected by this requirement — are much less likely to be aware of the provision, with 56% saying they know about it and 43% saying they are unaware.

….

The subgroups that are less likely to be aware of the health insurance requirement are also the subgroups that are least likely to be insured, including Hispanics, blacks, young adults, and those in lower-income households.

 

I see LOTS of marketing this summer to reach the uninformed uninsured!

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Oregon slashes 2014 health insurance premium requests by as much as 35 percent

Oregon slashes 2014 health insurance premium requests by as much as 35 percent | OregonLive.com.

Oregonians who buy their own insurance have the first clear indication of what 2014 premiums will look like after state regulators Tuesday slashed carriers’ rate requests by as much as 35 percent.

The state’s rate decisions show that monthly premiums for a single, 40-year-old Portland-area male nonsmoker — the example provided by the state — start at $166 a month and go as high as $274 for basic plans.

No rate shock in Oregon. The article seems to believe this single example indicates there won’t be rate shock in other states. Keep in mind that Oregon already had high insurance premiums compared to many other states.

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This Georgia hospital shows why rejecting Medicaid isn’t easy.

This Georgia hospital shows why rejecting Medicaid isn’t easy.

If Georgia expanded Medicaid, Grady chief executive John Haupert says it would cover more than 27,000 uninsured patients now seeking free medical treatment at the hospital. It also would have helped the hospital with an estimated $60 million economic boon.

In recent years, Grady has received about $90 million in annual DSH funding. Matthew Hicks, the hospital’s vice president of government relations, projects that the Affordable Care Act will nearly slash that amount in half by 2018. Without the Medicaid expansion, the impending $45 million loss won’t be offset. “It’s a double whammy,” he says. “You lose DSH funding, you don’t have insured patients, and somehow you’ve got to make up that difference.”

I see lots of arm twisting going on.

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A Surprising Health Insurance Option For Those Who Refuse ObamaCare

A Surprising Health Insurance Option For Those Who Refuse ObamaCare – Forbes.

But just because millions of Americans refuse to get ObamaCare-qualified coverage doesn’t mean they will be uninsured. There are policies available now that would work very well for the ObamaCare avoiders.

Access to  health insurance options doesn’t end if you refuse Obamacare coverage. Depending on your state, there can be a substantially larger variety of options then the article mentions.

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Colorado Struggles to Educate, Enroll Residents in New Health Insurance Exchange

Colorado Struggles to Educate, Enroll Residents in New Health Insurance Exchange | PBS NewsHour | June 25, 2013 | PBS.

Michelle Bledsoe doesn’t make enough money to afford health insurance and makes too much money to qualify for Medicaid. That’s why she comes to the clinic, where care is offered on a sliding scale.

When the new federal law kicks in next year, many people who come here will likely qualify for a government subsidy that may make coverage affordable; 13 insurance companies have agreed to participate on the Colorado exchange. They will offer more than 240 different plans. Like all the other states, there will be various levels to choose from. In Colorado, a bronze or basic package for a 40-year-old nonsmoker starts at $177 dollars a month.

More generous plans go up from there, silver, $232 dollars, gold, $273 dollars, and the platinum would cost $311 dollars a month for an individual.

A very interesting experiment is about to begin.

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Obamacare Could Produce $100 Trillion Medicare Shortfall

Obamacare Could Produce $100 Trillion Medicare Shortfall.

Medicare — despite the administration’s rosy forecasts — is headed for a financial crisis, thanks largely to Obamacare, say healthcare experts John Goodman and Laurence Kotlikoff.

The problem?

As for Obamacare, “to pay for the expansion of health insurance for the young, the new health law calls for steep cuts in the growth of healthcare spending on the elderly,” Goodman and Kotlikoff write.

The say “draconian” cuts in payments to providers will have to be made.

Nothing to see here, move along…

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Prediction Chaos: Top Obamacare official sees problems, would be ‘surprised’ if it starts well

I believe this is called “setting expectations” – Top Obamacare official sees problems, would be ‘surprised’ if it starts well | WashingtonExaminer.com.

Instead, he said, that the public has “to recognize that this is a big thing, it is complex, it does involve a lot of people and a lot of moving parts in terms of technology and other things, but it is happening and we are on schedule, we are hitting our milestones.”

Remind me again what was the problem we’re trying to fix that requires such complexity? KISS

Prediction: Chaos

Every now and then you have to step back and wonder if all this high technology, off in it’s own little universe, is laughing at us for our use of “them” to make simple systems so complicated.

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Think NSA Spying Is Bad? Here Comes The ObamaCare Database Hub

Think NSA Spying Is Bad? Here Comes The ObamaCare Database Hub – Investors.com.

A request from Senator Max Baucus regarding various agencies interaction with “the hub”….

 In response, the HHS said the ObamaCare data hub will “interact” with seven other federal agencies: Social Security Administration, the IRS, the Department of Homeland Security, the Veterans Administration, Office of Personnel Management, the Department of Defense and — believe it or not — the Peace Corps. Plus the Hub will plug into state Medicaid databases.

And what sort of data will be “routed through” the Hub? Social Security numbers, income, family size, citizenship and immigration status, incarceration status, and enrollment status in other health plans, according to the HHS.

“The federal government is planning to quietly enact what could be the largest consolidation of personal data in the history of the republic,” noted Stephen Parente, a University of Minnesota finance professor.

Not to worry says the Obama administration. C’mon guys, a reality check please? Read the whole thing.

Greta van Susteren interiews John Merline from IBD:

 

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Why the secrecy on rates?

The messy rollout of Obamacare – Chicago Tribune.

The rollout of Obamacare later this year is likely to bring a rate shock for many Americans who will buy health insurance from state marketplaces known as exchanges.

How much will premiums jump? Officials at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services won’t say. Yes, HHS has received rate filings from insurers. But the agency won’t release rates until September, when the final contracts are signed. That’s only a month before these new exchanges are supposed to open for business nationwide.

That really doesn’t provide confidence that they will be ready in time does it?

Bottom line: The cost of health insurance in California and the rest of the country will spike for many people, especially the young. At the same time, millions of Americans will be pushed into fledgling, sure-to-be-glitchy exchanges to buy that insurance.

Will the exchanges be working?

The states are scrambling to install a complex system that relies on computers to share data with the Internal Revenue Service, state tax offices, Medicaid, Medicare and other agencies in order to verify customer information. A consultant for Utah’s exchange told The Wall Street Journal: “Something will be up and running on Oct. 1. It will be full of issues, bugs and technological challenges.” Ack.

Then we have the concern regarding the young invincibles…

Amazing fact: A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that about 4 in 10 Americans didn’t know if Obamacare was still the law of the land. About 1 in 10 thought Congress had repealed it. More ominous: One in 4 people age 18 to 30 do not believe that insurance “is worth the money it costs.”

Obamacare counts on healthy younger people buying insurance in droves, lest only sick people sign up and premiums explode for everyone. They may opt to pay a penalty instead if insurance is too pricey or the online sign-up is as balky as a 10-year-old computer.

This is not going to be a smooth ride.

No it isn’t but one way or another we’ll probably get through the technical challenges. Getting young people to sign up, now that’s another problem altogether.

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Sebelius in talks with NFL on promoting ObamaCare insurance plans

Sebelius in talks with NFL on promoting ObamaCare insurance plans – The Hill’s Healthwatch.

“We’re having active discussions right now with a variety of sports affiliates” about both paid advertising and partnerships to encourage enrollment, Sebelius told reporters.

HHS is reportedly also in talks with the NBA to promote the law.

Partnerships with sports organizations are especially promising to HHS because the department hopes large numbers of young, healthy men will enroll in the law’s new coverage options.

Attracting young, healthy people will help keep premiums from rising dramatically once the law begins offering new protections for more expensive patients — namely, banning insurance companies from discriminating against people with preexisting conditions.

The cost is much more of a factor than all the marketing in the world.

That said, I would encourage young people to realize that they aren’t immortal and they can NOT get coverage anytime they want. Although the ACA does accept pre-existing conditions, that is ONLY during the open enrollment period. Also, in many cases you may have to wait 15 to 45 days for coverage to start. Be careful out there.

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