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Monday, December 23, 2013

It's Obamacare Deadline Day-Not A Time to Celebrate

There is an old joke that all Jewish Holidays are based on the same theme, "they tried to kill us, we won --let's eat!" Today is not a Jewish Holiday, but an American one, sort of, and the theme is, they tried to take away our freedom, they one (lets eat?).

The deadline for getting Obamacare insurance starting on January first without a break in coverage is 11:59 tonight. Although I am not sure whether or not to serve a special meal, but there may be an extra serving of traffic on which the site may or may night be able to handle.

If the site remains stable, it still doesn't change the fact that by the end of the day today, there will still be more people who have lost their plan because of Obamacare (5 million plus) than have signed up for Obamcare health plans.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services “has been reaching out to consumers who applied for coverage but have not yet selected a plan by email, phone and hard mail, to let them know about the next steps to complete enrollment,” an administration official said. “Broader outreach and enrollment efforts will ramp up next year to help more Americans sign up for coverage throughout the open enrollment period, which goes through March 31, 2014.”

But while the administration outlines its narrative of new coverage options and a higher performing enrollment system, opponents say Obamacare is crumbling just days before the new benefits start. As further proof that it’s not ready for prime time, they point to the latest regulatory delay: the administration’s announcement Friday that people who had health plans canceled in 2013 can get an exemption from the individual mandate in 2014.

While tonight is the deadline to enroll and choose an insurance plan for Jan. 1, consumers won’t have to pay their first premiums immediately. Under an agreement between the White House and most insurers, people can pay as late as Jan. 10; the coverage would still start retroactively on Jan. 1.

Those who do sign up based on the premiums may face a bit of sticker shock when they realize those plans have huge dedictibles.

Increasingly, experts in health insurance are becoming concerned that many of these first-time buyers will be in for a shock when they get medical care next year and discover they're on the hook for most of the initial cost.

The prospect of sticker shock after Jan. 1, when those who sign up for policies now can begin getting coverage, is seen as a looming problem for a new national system that has been plagued by trouble since the new marketplaces went online in the states in October.

High deductibles for health plans may contribute to sticker shock when people start paying medical bills in 2014, if they have elected to pay for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

For those without insurance — about 15 percent of the population — "the lesson is it's important to understand the total cost of ownership of a plan," said Matt Eyles, a vice president of Avalere Health, a market analysis firm. "You just don't want to look only at the premium."

Counselors who have been helping people choose policies say many are focused only on the upfront cost, not what the insurance companies agree to pay.
 Then there is that other problem, what does one serve on Obamacare deadline day?

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