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 About 1 in 10 thought Congress had repealed it.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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