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Obamacare enrollment numbers are in- but what do they mean? May 6, 2014

Posted by QUOTEBROKER in ACA, COBRA, Employee Benefits, Group Health Insurance, Health Care Reform, Health Insurance, Insurance Quotes, Obamacare.
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Obamacare enrollment numbers are in- but what do they mean?

The Obama administration has released a report detailing the enrollment numbers from the first enrollment period.  Note that these numbers are still incomplete, as final enrollments were still trickling in from the two week grace period given to consumers who had difficulty enrolling before March 31, 2014.  The big number that has been bandied about is “eight million enrolled” citizens into Obamacare plans- but what does that number actually mean?  Vox.com issued a nice summary at the link above.

The eight million figure comprises:

  • Consumers who created a marketplace account on an exchange, whether federal or state, and enrolled in a health insurance plan
  • “enrolled” in this case means “had their information sent to the insurance company
  • Some percentage of these folks have not and will not pay for their premium- an estimated 10-15%, based on numbers recently released by AHIP– America’s Health Insurance Plans.

The figure does NOT include:

  • Private enrollments made through carriers directly outside of the marketplace
  • Medicaid enrollments
  • Group enrollments
  • Those young adults under age 26 who were eligible to enroll in their parents’ health plan

Attempting to calculate Obamacare’s true reach is extremely difficult. We can count who signed up for insurance, but we can’t determine who only signed up because the legislation caused them to lose their plan in the first place.  We can count who signed up for Medicaid, but we can’t calculate who signed up that was newly eligible based on the new Medicaid expansion rules.

We will also see these numbers fluctuate throughout the “offseason” between open enrollments.  Special Enrollment Periods, unlocked with major qualifying life events, will be used to move into marketplace plans even now that open enrollment has closed. Marriage, birth, adoption and especially job loss are common triggers of Special Enrollment Periods. The individual health insurance industry always had some degree of turnover, much of it attributable to consumers getting new jobs and leaving the individual market to join their employer-sponsored group plan.  The same will continue under the ACA, as will the reverse scenario of consumers leaving their jobs with employer-sponsored plans and entering the individual market, as the lack of pre-existing condition exclusions will allow free movement between group and individual programs. These “final” enrollment numbers released by the administration are anything but.

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California will not allow President Obama’s Obamacare “fix” – Health plans scheduled to cancel as anticipated November 22, 2013

Posted by QUOTEBROKER in ACA, Health Care Reform, Health Insurance, Individual Health Insurance, Insurance, Obamacare, QuoteBroker.
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Despite the president’s wishes to the contrary, California yesterday rejected his plan to allow individuals to keep their current health plans through 2014.   In a press release, insurance commissioner Dave Jones expressed disappointment in the state health care exchange, CoveredCA, not allowing this provision to go through:

Over a millionCalifornians have received cancellation notices from their health insurer. On behalf of these policyholders I am disappointed in Covered California’s action,which denies individuals and families the opportunity to keep their existing health insurance as President Obama promised.

“Covered California rejected what President Obama and I asked for—that individual policyholders be allowed to keep their existing health insurance through all of 2014. Covered California’s decision denies Californians the same opportunity health insurers are giving to its small business customers who are being allowed to renew current policies throughout 2014.

CoveredCalifornia could have honored President Obama’s request, without causing damage to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act or the Exchange.

While one might think as insurance commissioner Mr. Jones could have had a bigger hand in this decision, California’s unique health dynamic did not allow the commissioner to make this decision unilaterally. As part of their contract with insurers, CoveredCA had stipulated that these same plans must be cancelled.  In order to allow the carriers to comply with President Obama’s new guidance on the matter, not only did Mr. Jones need to sign off on the decision, but CoveredCA needed to release the individual carriers from that provision of their contract as well.  CoveredCA declined.

President Obama’s request that insurers allow policyholders to keep their plans through 2014 has put ACA supporting insurance commissioners in a tough position. On one hand, they’d like to stand united with their president.  On the other hand, the president’s directive is a blow to the current ACA implementation, as it means millions less will sign up for the exchange policies.

If you currently have a policy in California, the strong likelihood is that it is still ending as scheduled.  Contact Quotebroker at 866-SUBSIDY to review your 2014 healthcare options, whether that may be through the state health exchange, privately direct-to-carrier, through a small group health plan, Medi-CAL, Medicare, or another healthcare option best suited to you.

CoveredCA provider directory still not available October 4, 2013

Posted by QUOTEBROKER in ACA, Health Care Reform, Individual Health Insurance, Insurance, Insurance Quotes.
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CoveredCA, the California state based health exchange, opened it’s doors earlier this week to much fanfare- and deservedly so. It’s the first time all California citizens have been able to access healthcare regardless of pre-existing medical conditions, and CoveredCA is the conduit for access.  However, three days in and there are still many questions to be answered by the state agency before a complete and accurate enrollment can take place. Chief of these questions is “Who are the providers available through CoveredCA?”

While CoveredCA’s shop and compare tool went live on October 1 along with the rest of the site, the Provider Directory is still unavailable. The Provider Directory is the tool used to match doctors with plans so that prospective members may know if their doctors accept a health insurance plan they are interested in.  It also allows prospective members without a current doctor to search available local providers to see who is available to treat them in their area.  This tool is not just a bonus to California residents who want to enroll in healthcare, it’s absolutely essential.

CoveredCA has acknowledged the Provider Directory’s absence, and stated that there will be more information released on the subject Monday, October 7, 2013.

Quotebroker will provide updates on the status of the CoveredCA Provider Directory as they become available. For immediate assistance from a licensed, certified insurance agent without the wait or the phone tree, visit Quotebroker.com or call 866-SUBSIDY

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