Monthly Archives: December 2013

Health law may not broaden access to mental treatment

The Affordable Care Act requires insurers to cover mental health care just as they do physical care, but a new study shows only half of psychiatrists accept insurance. That means access to care for the millions of people with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues may be limited to those who can pay for treatment out of their own pockets, despite the law.

via Health law may not broaden access to mental treatment.

You should not be surprised if you’ve been paying attention.


What is your deductible and what does it mean?

Obamacare ‘Deductible’ Shock–Just 14% Understand Insurance Lingo.

A recent academic study published in the Journal of Health Economics found that just 14% of individuals who have health coverage could correctly answer all four of four basic questions about health insurance, including understanding what a “deductible” and “copay” are. If comprehension figures are that low for the insured, analysts worry what that portends for the uninsured, especially for a program as complex as Obamacare.

Insurance is a legal contract. I know that’s hard to believe with all the “on the fly” changes in Obamacare. If you are diagnosed with cancer, your deductible doesn’t change. If you suddently have serious medical expense for whatever reason, your deductible doesn’t change. If you want a lower deductible, you need to purchase a plan with a lower deductible or be content to wait until the next open enrollment.


New low for Obamacare

CNN Poll: Health care law support drops to all-time low – CNN Political Ticker – Blogs.

Only 35% of those questioned in the poll say they support the health care law, a 5-point drop in less than a month. Sixty-two percent say they oppose the law, up four points from November.

Nearly all of the newfound opposition is coming from women.

“Opposition to Obamacare rose six points among women, from 54% in November to 60% now, while opinion of the new law remained virtually unchanged among men,” CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. “That’s bad news for an administration that is reaching out to moms across the country in an effort to make Obamacare a success.”

According to the survey, 43% say they oppose the health care law because it is too liberal, with 15% saying they give the measure a thumbs down because it is not liberal enough. That means half the public either favors Obamacare, or opposes it because it’s not liberal enough, down four points from last month.

Sixty-three percent say they believe the new law will increase the amount of money they personally pay for medical care, which may not be a good sign for a law known as the “Affordable Care Act.”

No fooling. The troubling issues is anyone with a brain could have figured out that higher prices were coming. I’ll stop there.


Expanded Medicaid: Be careful out there

Expanded Medicaid’s fine print holds surprise: ‘payback’ from estate after death | Local News | The Seattle Times.

As fine print is wont to do, it had buried itself in a long form — Balhorn’s application for free health insurance through the expanded state Medicaid program. As the paperwork lay on the dining-room table in Port Townsend, Prins began reading.

She was shocked: If you’re 55 or over, Medicaid can come back after you’re dead and bill your estate for ordinary health-care expenses.

The way Prins saw it, that meant health insurance via Medicaid is hardly “free” for Washington residents 55 or older. It’s a loan, one whose payback requirements aren’t well advertised. And it penalizes people who, despite having a low income, have managed to keep a home or some savings they hope to pass to heirs, Prins said.

Washington state is trying to fix the law but long term, anything is possible…

“People will think this is wonderful, this is free insurance,” Orient said in an interview. “They don’t realize it’s really a loan, and is secured by any property they have.”

Even states that are now limiting estate recovery, she warned, can change the rules again if budget problems become more intense.

Keep in mind, if you qualify for Medicaid, you don’t qualify for a subsidy…

One reason this snafu has become so troublesome is that ACA rules appear to give those who qualify for Medicaid little choice but to accept the coverage.

People cannot receive a tax credit to subsidize their purchase of a private health plan if their income qualifies them for Medicaid, said Bethany Frey, spokeswoman for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange.

But they could buy a health plan without a tax credit, she added.

For someone age 55 to 64 at the Medicaid-income level — below $15,856 a year — it’s quite a jump from free Medicaid health insurance to an unsubsidized individual plan. Premiums in King County for an age 60 non-tobacco user for the most modest plan run from $451 to $859 per month.

I predict an industry will form to assist people in “gaming the system”.




Sebelius orders review of Obamacare website woes

Look in the mirror Kathleen – Sebelius orders review of Obamacare website woes –

“I believe strongly in the need for accountability, and in the importance of being good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” she said, adding that “we need a thorough review of the contractor performance and program management structure that resulted in the flawed launch of the website.”



Want Obamacare coverage to start January 1?

Feds against paper health applications | TheHill.

Federal health officials have been advising ObamaCare counselors this week to stop using paper applications to enroll people — out of fear that the applications wouldn’t be processed in time.

Based on interviews the Associated Press conducted, enrollment counselors and brokers facilitating the insurance sign-up process have been advised by the Obama administration to stop using paper.

Uninsured consumers in the United States must sign up for health insurance by Dec. 23 in order to receive coverage starting Jan. 1.

“We received guidance from the feds recommending that folks apply online as opposed to paper,” Mike Claffey, spokesman for the Illinois Department of Insurance, told the AP.

Amateur hour.


Young Adults, Low Income Least Familiar with Healthcare Reform

Young Adults, Low Income Least Familiar with Healthcare Reform.

The Affordable Care Act is intended to benefit those with lower incomes, who are more likely to be uninsured than those with higher incomes. But at this time, lower-income Americans are less familiar with the law than those with higher incomes.

They are just not interested. It’s doubtful outreach and marketing will change that. We’ll find out.