Young Adults Less Enthused about Enrolling for the ACA
A new Harvard poll this morning shows that young adults are not completely sold on the ACA and particularly signing up for it. Only 29% said that they would “definitely” or “likely” be enrolling for coverage on the exchanges. Meanwhile, 56% of young adults polled said that they oppose the law and roughly 40% feel that it would increase health care costs for them. Just 10% said that it would lower their healthcare costs. The Administration has said that they need 2.7 million young adults to enroll (out of a total goal of 7 million) or roughly 38% of total enrollees.
American Action Forum Health Care Policy Director Chris Holt Discusses the Affordable Care Act on Fox News (December 3, 2013).
IG Report: Tax Fraud Could Result from ACA Website’s Lack of Security
A new report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration finds that “the system for calculating subsidies for individuals to purchase insurance through President Obama’s health care law didn’t have adequate measures in place to minimize security risks and prevent fraud.” The report goes on to also warn that the site’s lack of security could lead to multiple refunds and possible tax fraud. The report was actually issued prior to the troubled launch healthcare.gov in September. It was only made public today.
Insurance Companies May Have No Records of Successfully Enrolled Individuals
Yesterday, the administration admitted that a good number of individuals who had successfully enrolled for health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act may not have successfully completed the process as the website back end is not fully functional. This means that the 126,000 or so individuals who successfully enrolled for coverage in October and November may have been notified on the website of their successful enrollment, but the insurance company they selected may have no record of their purchase. ABC News writes: “Obama administration officials acknowledged today that some of the roughly 126,000 Americans who completed the torturous online enrollment process in October and November might not be officially signed up with their selected issuer, even if the website has told them they are.”
Insurance Companies and States Are Trying to Work around Healthcare.gov
The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that both insurance companies and state governments are working to bypass the much troubled healthcare.gov website in order to enroll individuals in health care coverage. While the administration announced yesterday that the website can now support 90% of the individuals on the site at one time, they also admitted that much of the site remains to be built, including the back end where data will be verified and payments will be made to insurers. Insurance companies are now scrambling to see if they can enroll individuals without the going through the site and so that they can secure payment by the administration’s date of December 23rd in order to ensure coverage by January 1st.
State administrators share similar concerns the Journal writes: “James Wadleigh, chief information officer of Connecticut’s exchange, said he was looking at having a new vendor support identity verification in addition to the federal vendor. He also said he wanted to be able to tap state databases, such as the labor department’s, to validate incomes and was seeking a way to prove people were legal residents without depending on federal data. Mr. Wadleigh said he wants Connecticut to be self-reliant and serve its residents even when the federal government has to take down parts of its technology for maintenance. Some other states are watching his effort.”
Supreme Court to Hear Case on ACA Birth Control Mandate
The Associated Press is reporting that the Supreme Court will hear a case on whether or not businesses can use religious objections to not offer ACA mandated birth control as part of their health care benefits package. The AP writes: “The justices said Tuesday they will take up an issue that has divided the lower courts in the face of roughly 40 lawsuits from for-profit companies asking to be spared from having to cover some or all forms of contraception. The court will consider two cases. One involves Hobby Lobby Inc., an Oklahoma City-based arts and crafts chain with 13,000 full-time employees. Hobby Lobby won in the lower courts.”
Administration: Healthcare.gov Won’t Work Perfectly by December 1st
The administration said on a conference call with reporters this afternoon that the troubled healthcare.gov will not be fully ready as hoped by the end of November. “The system will not work perfectly on December 1 but will operate much better than it did in October,” said Julie Bataille a CMS spokeswoman on the call. White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest also told reporters during the White House Press briefing that the website would be able to handle 50,000 users at one time by the end of the month. If more people than that are on at one time, the site would direct users to come back when it was less busy.
Employers Passing on Health Costs to Employees
“Companies are bracing for an influx of participants in their insurance plans due to the health-care overhaul, adding to pressure to shift more of the cost of coverage to employees,” according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal.
“Many employers are betting that the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that all Americans have health insurance starting in 2014 will bring more people into their plans who have previously opted out. That, along with other rising expenses, is prompting companies to raise workers’ premium contributions, steer them toward high-deductible plans and charge them more to cover family members.”
The ACA “Fix” is a Free Pass to Sue Your Insurance Company
A new AAF Insight this morning highlights a new possible hiccup with the administration’s ACA “Fix.” People who have uncancelled plans that do not meet ACA minimum requirements, could technically sue their insurance providers for not covering procedures mandated under the ACA. In other words, someone can repurchase their previously cancelled plans, get sick but not have the coverage required under the ACA, and sue their insurer for not following a law that is still technically on the books. AAF experts Chris Holt and Laura Collins write: “An insurer who continues to provide a policy that does not comply with the ACA’s requirements, and denies payment for an ACA-covered procedure in keeping with the policy, could be sued by the enrollee.”