Monthly Archives: October 2013

Policy cancellations

Obama accused of breaking promise to consumers as health plans cancel policies – The Washington Post.

This about sums it up…

“The real problem is that people weren’t told the truth,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said Tuesday on “CBS This Morning.” “You can remember, they were told that they would be able to keep their policies if they liked them. Now you hear hundreds of thousands of people across the country being told they couldn’t.”

But perhaps the truth isn’t so important if you’re going to get a better policy…

Administration officials say the canceled insurance will be replaced by better policies.

Well, you get to be the judge.

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Rate Shock seques into “Provider Shock”

New “glitch”: If you like your hospital, you might not be able to keep your hospital « Hot Air.

Turns out you can’t expand coverage, cap patient costs, and expect providers to work for less, just like you can’t create the conditions for a major adverse selection problem and expect insurers to flood into the new market. “Some hospitals and doctors don’t even know if they are in the network,” says one expert, a point also made in the WSJ story I flagged this morning about consumers often having no idea who’ the providers are in each plan offered on the state exchanges.

I spoke with a client today and her daughter is in the process of being diagnosed for a blood disorder under the care of Children’s Hospital in Aurora, CO. Shopping on the Colorado Marketplace, Connect for Health Colorado, the number of available plans shrinks from 78 to 13 if Children’s Hospital is required to be in-network.

An additional complication is the client is planning to move in July to another State. If she takes ANY Marketplace plan, she will have to get a new plan with a new deductible in the middle of the year.

Fortunately, there’s a solution with an off the marketplace insurer that will allow her to “keep her plan” when she moves. Well, that’s a helluva lot better then Obama can do.

 

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Top Hospitals Opt Out of Obamacare

Surprise! – Top Hospitals Opt Out of Obamacare – US News and World Report.

“This doesn’t surprise me,” said Gail Wilensky, Medicare advisor for the second Bush Administration and senior fellow for Project HOPE. “There has been an incredible amount of focus on the premium cost and subsidy, and precious little focus on what you get for your money.”

Regulations driven by the Obama White House have indeed made insurance more affordable – if, like Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, you’re looking only at price. But responding to Obamacare caps on premiums, many insurers will, in turn, simply offer top-tier doctors and hospitals far less cash for services rendered.

Not to mention that insurance is in many cases NOT more affordable.

Chances are the individual plan you purchased outside Obamacare would allow you to go to these facilities. For example, fourth-ranked Cleveland Clinic accepts dozens of insurance plans if you buy one on your own. But go through Obamacare and you have just one choice: Medical Mutual of Ohio.

And that’s not because their exchanges don’t offer options. Both Ohio and California have a dozen insurance companies on their exchanges, yet two of the states’ premier hospitals – Cleveland Clinic and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center – have only one company in their respective networks.

A good local example here is Colorado is Children’s Hospital is not in he Anthem BCBS network.

When looking at ACA/Obamacare plans, you must be concerned about the network. Also, if you are near a state border, travel a lot or have two residences, keep in mind that with a vast majority of the plans you are out of network for non-emergency care performed out of state.

 

 

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Obamacare Tech Surge

You have 30 days… Google, Oracle Workers Enlisted for Obamacare ‘Tech Surge’ – Businessweek.

Google Inc. (GOOG:US), Red Hat Inc. (RHT:US), Oracle Corp. (ORCL:US) and other technology companies are contributing dozens of computer engineers and programmers to help the Obama administration fix the U.S. health-insurance exchange website.

The help is arriving as the government’s main site for medical coverage remains plagued by repeated outages a month after its Oct. 1 debut. Michael Dickerson, a site reliability engineer on leave from Google, and Greg Gershman, innovation director for smartphone application maker Mobomo, are among those helping, the Obama administration said today.

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White House admits the obvious

WH: ‘It’s True’ Some Americans Won’t Be Able to Keep Their Health Care Plan Under Obamacare

White House spokesman Jay Carney explained at today’s briefing that “it’s true” some Americans will not be able to keep their health care plan under Obamacare:

It’s good to know that now that every paper in the nation is runing stories about people losing their coverage that the White House can actually admit it’s happening.

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Healthcare.gov processed an application I did not submit

Is There A Problem Here?: Healthcare.gov processed an application I did not submit.

Furthermore, the decision letter I received says that I have 10 days to appeal any decisions or I will be ineligible for coverage in the future. Now, they’ve put me in a position that I have to get Healthcare.gov and a state agency to collaborate to withdraw the application I never submitted.

I now have zero trust in Healthcare.gov.

Amateur hour.

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Individual coverage cancellation and Why buy a plan on the exchange anyway?

Here’s Why So Many Americans Are Getting Letters Saying Their Health Insurance Is Canceled – Business Insider.

“If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.” This was one of President Obama’s key talking points when selling the Affordable Care Act, and it was never true — as many of the 14 million Americans currently covered by individually-purchased health plans are now learning.

And here’s why…

  • Some old plans don’t meet new requirements under the ACA (essential health benefits)
  • Some existing plans have especially sick particpants pools, so insurers want to end them (The state high risk pools should be included here too)

The article goes on to explain why you should or should not buy on the exchange…

If subsidies are only available inside the exchange, and the regulations are mostly the same, why would any insurers offer plans outside the exchange, and why would anybody buy outside?

follow the link….

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Dropped Coverage: One Cancer-Surviving Doctor’s Story in the Age of Obamacare

The PJ Tatler » Dropped Coverage: One Cancer-Surviving Doctor’s Story in the Age of Obamacare.

And now, Obamacare is costing his own family its insurance.

What the article doesn’t make particularly clear is that Dr. Carpenter does have access to Obamacare where they don’t care about his pre-existing conditions. That is ASSUMING healthcare.gov is fixed. Which is a “Mythical Man Month” thing and may or may not happen.

But the implication of the article is “spot on”. He had insurance he liked, it covered his situation and suddently he’s losing it thanks to Obamacare and has to pay more for the replacement coverage with its 10 essential health benefits.

Why more? Because Dr. Carpenter most likely doesn’t qualify for a subsidy. He pays the full price.

Remember. President Obama promised us we could keep our plan and our doctor if we liked it? He also mentioned reductions in annual premiums too. Not just once or twice either. Dr. Carson and many others are paying the price.

Some companies are extending their current plans through 2014. Assuming Obamacare survivives, another group of individual policy holders will have to face the music of paying higher premiums.

… I’m not obivious to those Obamacare helps. I just got off the phone with potential clients who will benefit from the coverage. There is no easy answer, but there’s a better answer than this complex cluster…

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Uninsured next year? Here’s your Obamacare penalty.

Note the Greater Than – Uninsured next year? Here’s your Obamacare penalty. 

 

So how will the penalty be collected? Through your tax return.

But if some folks want to remain uninsured, it could be tough for the Internal Revenue Service to get the penalty. That’s because Congress did not give the agency the authority to prosecute those who don’t pay, a power it does wield over those who don’t pay their income taxes, said Jay Angoff, a partner at Mehri & Skalet law firm who worked on health reform in the Obama administration.

Those who are owed money could see their refunds docked by the penalty amount. Others, however, will likely just get nasty letters.

“The penalties have little teeth,” Angoff said. “Congress didn’t give the IRS too much power.”

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Enrollment in Obamacare Exchanges: How Will Your Health Insurance Fare?

Enrollment in Obamacare Exchanges: How Will Your Health Insurance Fare?.

Source Report: How Will You Fare in the Obamacare Exchanges?

The following states will see decreases.

Colorado, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island

For the most part, these states will see decreases because they have already adopted some version of health care regulations that include mandates similar to Obamacare. One blue state, California, has pushed heavy mandates and yet will see its rates rise from 3.4% to 23.6%, with older Californians seeing half the hike that younger Californians will suffer.

Color me unconvinced on the Colorado reporting. The factual data I do have shows substantial increaes but that’s only on a few cases so there is no conclusion that can be drawn.  I will run some young invincibles this evening and add to this post.

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