Obamacare Day 1


Well, like it or not..it is here.

Are we ready?

Are we ready?

Day 1 of Obamacare takes effect today 1/1/14.  The issues and debates are still thriving and time will be the great moderator of the debate.  I think it is fair to say that Obamacare is at the very least a “working document” that politicians will modify the bill as it begins to effect their constituents and their chances of re-elections.  The primary topics I hear today are below:

  • Of the almost 2 million people enrolled, how many are enrolled on Medicaid (non-financial contributors), and how many are the younger higher cost premiums designed to help offset the costs and pay for the sick and elderly?
  • The 2 million number is for those “enrolled” yet many have to pay their premiums yet.  Are they insured?
  • The estimates of those who lost coverage are as high as 5 million.  With the 2 million enrolled, what about the other 3 million in limbo?
  • Many have filled out all the information and believe they are enrolled yet they may have been lost in the website issues.  Will this create chaos with the system?
  • Insurance companies have seen numerous dynamic changes, delays and exemptions.  This has caused much chaos in their industry and the matrix of charges are now in great flux.  Are we going to see rising premiums?
  • If the Insurance Industry is damaged with excessive cost to premium ratios, with the Government bail out the Insurance Industry like we did with the Auto Industry?

The next milestones are the individual mandate, and the employer mandates with the pending “wait and see” of how many cancellations will effect large companies at the time of renewal.

There are numerous polls that show a wild variance of opinions on where we are at today and the feelings of the long term benefit of the Affordable Health Care Act.  What do you think?  How has this effected you?  Do you plan on being a participant?

We look forward to your opinions.

 

Thanks,

Dean Cameron

About Dean Cameron:

Dean Cameron has a 30 year career in Sales and Marketing in numerous industries resulting in relationships with many Fortune 500 Companies. Dean is an Art Collector and owner of American Fine Art Company and Flootie.com (subsidiaries of Highlander Enterprises LLC) and resides with his family in Spokane Valley, WA.


Can a Free Market fix Health Insurance?


Can a free market system fix the health insurance industry?  Here is an example that begs for discussion.  This is written by Tim Cameron of Everett, WA.  Tim has a Real Estate background as well as Stock Market and Currency Exchange experience.

Watched a commercial for AT&T on Christmas day…offering unlimited everything for your cell phone for 45 dollars a month with no contract……  businessthought back to when they first came out…..they weren’t really “mobile” phones. I had two friends that had phones installed in their cars at 1,200 bucks apiece…plans back then were around .20 cents per minute. My first “mobile” phone was about 600 bucks it was mobile only because it’s power source was a cigarette lighter that I could take from car to car same plan for minutes…about .20……..How far have we come and why did we come this far this fast………2 things……demand and free market competition….. ATT, Verizon, Sprint, TMobile all competing for your and my business has driven prices down, options up, and technology better…all at the same time……..Why would this not work for getting health insurance????? Free Market Capitalism always works my friends…it has never failed……  when things get screwed up is when Government puts it’s paws on it, regulates it which kills competition, and protects the incompetent, unethical, or bloated corporations ready to take our money without increasing service because they are a “protected class”


Major shift in original intent for Obamacare?


Well, it seems we have another surprise today when it was announced that people can now purchase plans that were originally cancelled because they were “sub-standard” but now they can purchase to avoid the penalty for non filing by Dec 31st.  Besides the large amount of people who are now paying more for policies they did not want because it was the law to purchase, the Insurance Industry is furious with the ongoing hand grenades thrown into the preparations and plans they took years to structure because it was the law to now have these dropped in their laps with the expectation that they can just “accommodate” without the structure and planning in place to do so.  072413_al_obamacare2_640

It seems to me that there could be a much better and thought out solution to these problems that are inclusive with both parties and the insurance industry to try and smooth out the implementation.  Instead, it seems it is getting more chaotic and will likely implode under it’s own doing if this keeps going the way that it is today.

See the article today published by the administration friendly Washington Post.

Obama administration relaxes rules of health-care law four days before deadline

Video: The Obama administration announced a plan to give relief to people who have had their insurance plans canceled because of new standards under the Affordable Care Act.

By , Published: December 19

The Obama administration on Thursday night significantly relaxed the rules of the federal health-care law for millions of consumers whose individual insurance policies have been canceled, saying they can buy bare-bones plans or entirely avoid a requirement that most Americans have health coverage.The surprise announcement, days before the Dec. 23 deadline for people to choose plans that will begin Jan. 1, triggered an immediate backlash from the health insurance industry and raised fairness questions about a law intended to promote affordable and comprehensive coverage on a widespread basis.

The rule change was issued in a bulletin from the Department of Health and Human Services. It is the second major response by the Obama administration to a public and political furor that erupted  in the fall when several million people who bought their own insurance began to receive notices that their policies were being canceled because they fell short of new benefit standards. The cancellations prompted complaints that President Obama had reneged on an oft-repeated promise that, under the Affordable Care Act, people who like their health plans could keep them.At a news conference in mid-November, an apologetic Obama relented to the criticism, announcing that the federal government would let insurance companies continue for another year to offer individuals and small businesses health plans that do not meet the new requirements. The decision, however , is up to each state’s insurance regulator, and not all have gone along.This second change, prompted by a group of Democratic senators — most of whom face tough reelection campaigns next year — goes substantially further in accommodating people upset about losing their policies. The latest rule will allow consumers with a canceled health plan to claim a “hardship exemption” if they think the plans sold through new federal and state marketplaces are too expensive.

The ability to get an exemption means that the administration is freeing these people from one of the central features of the law: a requirement that most Americans have health insurance as of Jan. 1 or risk a fine. The exemption gives them the choice of having no insurance or of buying skimpy “catastrophic” coverage.

Until now, the law allowed people younger than 30 to buy catastrophic coverage — an exception to the law’s benefit rules in an effort to attract young adults who have been particularly prone to avoiding coverage in the past. The law also has allowed hardship exemptions for people 30 and older who could not afford the regular coverage.

It is unclear how many people facing canceled policies will choose no insurance, bare-bones coverage or a  plan through the insurance exchanges that meet new federal standards. But the prospect that healthy people with canceled insurance might opt out of the new health plans set off immediate alarm among insurance industry leaders, who already have been worried whether enough people who are inexpensive to cover will sign up.

“This latest rule change could cause significant instability in the marketplace and lead to further confusion and disruption for consumers,” said Karen Ignagni, president of  America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s main trade group.

Another health insurance official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he lacked authorization to discuss the matter publicly, pointed out that the hardship exemption also gives one group the ability to buy coverage whenever they want, rather than during annual open-enrollment periods. As a result, he said, more people might not buy insurance unless they get sick.

Federal health officials estimated Thursday that, of all the people whose substandard  health plans have been canceled, less than half a million have not chosen new coverage. But they acknowledged that they were not certain.

The insurance official suggested that some people who have chosen new health plans after receiving a cancellation notice might back out of their new coverage to take advantage of the administration’s sudden offer.

Federal health officials, however, predicted that relatively few people would take advantage of the opportunity to avoid the law’s benefits requirement, reasoning that they have had insurance in the past so would probably want it in the future.

“This is a common-sense clarification of the law,” said Joanne Peters, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services. “For the limited number of consumers whose plans have been canceled and are seeking coverage, this is one more option.”

The administration’s move is a swift response to the dozen Democratic senators,  who contended that steps the president had taken did not go far enough to  help people whose insurance was canceled.

Six of those senators sent a letter on Wednesday to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, asking for her to allow people whose plans have been canceled to claim hardship exceptions and buy bare-bones catastrophic coverage. “We  have heard from many of our constituents who are upset by the cancellation of the health plans,” said the letter, whose signers include both of Virginia’s senators, Mark R. Warner (D) and Timothy M. Kaine (D).

The six senators issued a statement Thursday night, saying that they are “pleased the administration appears to have responded to the concerns we’ve raised. . . . We will closely monitor how the administration implements this option, and we remain committed to proposing responsible solutions.”

As administration officials are granting more flexibility to one group of consumers, they also are working to cope with what is expected to be a rush of people signing up for health plans through the new federal insurance marketplace by the Dec. 23 enrollment deadline. After a trouble-ridden first two months for the  insurance Web site, HealthCare.gov, it is working smoothly, they said. They also have added 800 trained staff members to their call centers for people who want enrollment advice by phone, so that there are now 12,000 staffers at 17 call centers nationwide.

Paul Kane, Ed O’Keefe, and Juliet Eilperin contributed to this report.