Obamacare Progress – Joe Klein

Obamacare Progress | TIME.com.

In an error ridden article, Joe Klein is happy to report progress in the implementation of Obamacare.

Good news is that the Obamacare application has been reduced from 21 pages to just 3 for a single person. Apparently Joe gets this part right, although we won’t know for a fact until tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow morning the Administration will announce a spiffy, new 3-page application for individuals (which we’ll attach here when it becomes public).* There will be an 7-page application for families (11 including the appendix), but even that one will be far better designed than the initial effort. “We did a lot of work testing words, to come up with simpler language,” an Administration official told me, “and we did time tests. Our average was 7 minutes to fill out the paper version and even less if you do it online.”

But Joe can’t leave good enough alone and me makes the snarky comment:

This compares favorably with applications for private insurance plans, which average about 17 pages (and can go as high as 35).

C’mon Joe, say it ain’t so. You are comparing an application for a medically underwritten plan to a plan that is not medically underwritten. Since ALL major medical plans can no longer be medically underwritten starting January 1st, if you engage your brain at all, you would probably come to the common sense conclusion that an application from a private insurance plan will shrink radically in size to? Since rates can only be determined based on an applicant’s age, general location and in some states if they use tobacco or not, I can’t imagine how an application for a private off-exchange plan will not shrink significantly. Can you Joe?

Joe then continues…

My primary concerns remain the implementation of the online super-stores. I remain concerned that employees of small businesses won’t have a choice of health plans in the first year.

Well, lets see. The only reason Obamacare was of interest to small business was it would allow them to offer their employees multiple plans from different insurers. Presently, they may be able to offer multiple plans, but all the plans will be from the same insurance company. The government has ALREADY stated that the exchanges run by the Federal government will NOT offer this choice for 2014. Perhaps multiple plans from a single company will be available, but that can hardly be called progress.

Joe then offers the footnote referencing the shrinking size of the application:

*The application form will be even simpler for higher income individuals and families who aren’t eligible for a health insurance subsidy but want to shop at the exchange in search of less-expensive coverage.

This is pure gobblygook. If an insurance company offers a plan ON the exchange, they can offer it OFF the exchange. The price must be the same for BOTH plans. Companies that are not offering plans on the exchange can still offer plans OFF exchange. These plans would have the same basic coverages (i.e. Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum) as the exchange based plans would.

So two important items to take away from this “minor” footnote:

  1. An off exchange plan will also have a very uncomplicated minimal application just like the exchange plans.
  2. If you are not eligible for a subsidy, there is no particular reason to purchase your coverage through an exchange. In fact there will most likely be a greater selection of plans off the exchange.



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