Confusing New Change of Rules for Obamacare

Photo courtesy of vanhookc via Flickr

Photo courtesy of Vanhookc via Flickr


From the “New York Times:”

Of the 13 states that have so far said they will allow consumers to renew canceled plans, all but four are led by Republican governors and have generally been opposed to the new health care law.

Of the eight that have said they will not carry out the policy, six are in Democratic-led states, many of which have actively worked to put the law into effect and have argued that allowing such an extension could undermine its success. They include New York, which announced its decision on Tuesday, and Massachusetts.

Many other states, including California and New Jersey, are still weighing their options.

Does this sound overly confusing to you? Me, too! I have always been a supporter of Obamacare, although I ABSOLUTELY belive that a Medicaid-style program would be far better.

That being said, I am growing increasingly tired of the mess-ups and mistakes in the implementation of it. Why is Obama not pushing back the deadline in which everyone needs to be insured under his new system when people still can’t sign up due to computer glitches? And what’s with his new decision to throw a potentially massive wrench into a system that is already confusing by allowing people to keep their own insurance plans for another year? The “NY Times” says:

Whether the move will ultimately be good for consumers is unclear. Proponents of the health care law, including several states that have most enthusiastically embraced it, have argued that renewing old plans will undermine the success of the fledging insurance marketplaces.

They have also asserted that some of those plans have fewer benefits than new ones devised to comply with the new law.

Even worse, some states are choosing not to comply with this change. Some states, even some Democratically controlled ones such as NY, have refused to allow people to keep their old plans. Won’t this be extremely confusing and time-consuming for insurance companies trying to figure out what to do with policy holders depending on what state they live in?

The other thing I still don’t get is why people would fight so hard to keep their old plans in the first place, the issue this new game changer is meant to address. Why wouldn’t you want a better, cheaper plan? Is this just ideological stubbornness?

AND, did Obama really lie, or “mis-speak,” when he said people could keep their old plans? Or did he really just not understand the complexities of the new system? I’m getting a headache just thinking about it!

What do you guys think? Will all this work, or make things worse?


6 thoughts on “Confusing New Change of Rules for Obamacare

  1. I’ve written extensively on this. First, we all need to take a deep breath and calm down. Things should work out in time, and we’re already seeing the enrollment numbers pick up in states that are trying to make it work. According to the best analysis, 80% of people – those already insured through their employer – will not be significantly affected. 15% will be getting new healthcare coverage. About 3% will be getting better cheaper coverage, and less than 2% will be getting better coverage at a higher price than they were paying before.

    Did Obama lie? He certainly could have been more truthful. But, I believe this political blunder resulted from him trusting the big health insurers too much. They are a bunch of greedy bastards, and the law wasn’t written tight enough to prevent them from seizing a profit opportunity. Because of the ACA’s higher coverage standards, the “junk” plans that were cancelled were no longer profitable. Instead of keeping them under the law’s “grandfather” clause, the insurers discontinued them in the hopes that those individuals would buy more expensive plans.

    • Were the insurers who cancelled people’s plans hoping their policy holders would sign up for more expensive plans from the same insurer? Would that be allowed?

      • Yes. The law was written so that existing plans could be kept under the old standards, but only if those policies did not change. The insurance companies deliberately changed them, which in effect forced them to be cancelled because the old standards no longer applied. Then, the insurers withheld information about the new ACA options from those cancelled policy holders and offered them really expensive alternatives instead. It was a double-cross by the insurance companies, but Obama should have known they would try to do something like this. Perhaps negligence on Obama’s part is a more accurate criticism than accusing him of lying.

        • Thanks for the clarification! I hope Obama can figure out how to deal with those insurance companies, though I’m not sure how much he can do unless he’s willing to impose some sort of regulations.

    • Do you think Obama’s new approach will properly address this problem? Or do you think it would be better for people to have to just sign up for new ACA plans?

      • No. That wasn’t a good policy decision, but it’s less harmful than what either the House of Representatives and Senate are proposing. The House bill would probably destroy the ACA, and the Senate bill would probably raise health insurance premiums across the board. Obama made that move only for political reasons. If he had done nothing, his poll numbers would have dropped even more.

        Those cancelled policy holders need to get better plans through the exchanges. Some will have to pay more, but at least they’ll have much better health insurance.

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