Thursday, October 24, 2013

Progress at Healthcare.gov

I've been blogging about my experiences on healthcare.gov.  I know that there are other families out there where getting health insurance is absolutely critical to both physical health and financial security.  I'm hoping our experience can help others do better.

And making fun of it helps me feel better.

Tuesday night, I made some progress on healthcare.gov.  I made it farther than I thought possible, so maybe there is some hope for the thing.  However, I found myself in a corner I could not get out of.

About 11:30 PM on Tuesday, I bopped over to healthcare.gov.  My old user name and password continue to not work, so I opened a new account.  Surprisingly, I received my confirmation email right away and was able to access the site.

It asked for information on where I live, my birthday, whether I smoke, and my social security number.  I hope I won't regret it, but I supplied the information.  I also went through the same set of questions for my wife.

I got to the part where it asks about subsidies.  It asks for no detail, but just asks how much we make.  That's a tough number to derive for us, so I made my best guess.  Keep in mind that if you do this for yourself, to get a good idea of the amount of subsidy it's not just your wages that count, it's any investments, capital gains, interest, and even social security payments that count.

After all that, I got this report.


How do you make a question mark in a box symbol?  I don't know, but this website is good at it.

It did tell us what our tax credit should be at the estimated income level.  Who knows if it's right.

We were also able to get a bunch of family plan quotes.  My own policy is a grandfathered, high deductible, HSA compatible plan.  If it were an exchange policy, it would be better than a silver and almost as good as a gold plan, but a lot cheaper than either.  So I'm thinking I will keep it.  My wife's BCBSM plan however will be cancelled as of the end of this year, so we have to replace it.

Crashola time!  You apparently can't go back and rerun a family plan application as an individual application.  I think we'll probably just buy directly from the insurance company.  That means we'll be ineligible for the tax credit, but we can survive without it and even though we'll miss the money, at least we'll know we're covered.

I reviewed the plan details for BCBSM from both healthcare.gov and their own site and was disturbed to find that some of the plan details did not match up.  In other words, the benefits listed in one place did not match those in the other.  Oh well, I guess that's good for insurance lawyers.  And generally speaking, what's good for insurance lawyers is good for me.

I just don't have confidence in this system.  And when you buy insurance, that's what you're buying.  You want to be able to sleep at night knowing everything will be OK.  This system does not create those feelings, it just breeds anxiety.

Anyway, here are some top Obamacare Headlines.

Rightwing Rants

Foolish pro-Obamacare ad features two enrollees.

Leftwing Cheerleading

Obamacare off to great start in Kentucky and Washington.

Hard News

Obamacare truth and myths.

Obamacare security contractors had past security lapses.

Delaware's first Obamacare enrollee receives invitation to White House.  (I guess that's kind of like winning the Super Bowl or being the first man on the moon).

Obamacare health co-ops struggle with regulations.

Website problems blinded Obama according to Sebelius.

For Industry Insiders

PPACA and exchange information not reaching employees.

Self Insurance Institute of America vows to fight on in stop-loss battle.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Conflict in Deadlines and What it Means to You

It recently came to the attention of the government that the deadlines for signing up for health insurance does not match up with the deadlines for the imposition of penalties under the individual mandates.  In other words, a person could sign up for an insurance policy within the open enrollment period but still be subject to a penalty for at least part of 2014.

Here's the schedule:

  • October 1. Open enrollment on exchanges opens.
  • December 15. Deadline for enrolling to be covered by January 1.
  • January 1. First day of coverage.
  • February 15.  According to some experts, the last day to apply for insurance to meet March 31 deadline.
  • March 31. Open enrollment ends.  Deadline for avoiding individual mandate penalty.
  • October 15-December 7, 2014. New open enrollment period.
The problem arises for someone who enrolls after mid-February.  Because of the processing time, it is unlikely that someone who signs up toward the end of the open enrollment period will be insured by the March 31 deadline.  Confusion will reign when people who think they are enrolled but have only applied get hit with the individual mandate penalty, even though they believe they timely purchased insurance.

So what does that mean to you?  If you do not have insurance, sign up sooner rather than later.  Just because you have applied does not mean you are covered.  Also, there's a chance you become sick or get injured before your policy is in place.  So the best thing to do is to apply by December 15, and preferably earlier, to make sure you have coverage come January 1, 2014.

Of course, so long as the insurance exchange websites are not working properly, this might not be possible.  However, don't hesitate to contact an insurance broker in your area for help in signing up even if the website for your state is not working.

Now for some Today's Obamacare headlines:

Rightwing Rants


Leftwing Cheerleading


Hard News