Tuesday, June 11. 2013
The Affordable Care Act's coverage mandate goes into effect starting on January 1, but many experts within the health insurance industry itself say that implementation could be extremely complicated, and lead to many problems.
The ACA's exchanges are slated to open on October 1, but many states have still yet to find a large number of insurers willing to offer plans on them, and moreover, it's unclear exactly how these marketplaces will work, according to a report from the Associated Press. In addition, a number of studies have shown that the roll-out of the exchanges, and even public awareness of them, have been troubling.
"There will be horror stories, stories of so-called train wrecks," Mark Moody, the president and chief executive officer of government insurance plan issuer WEA Trust, said at a recent panel on the topic, according to the news agency. "It will be a difficult process to get the exchanges started. … I think fundamentally the Affordable Care Act is on the right track but it's going to be a long, slow process."
Many Americans may have difficulties navigating the exchanges when they open later this year, and as a consequence, it might be wise to get their health insurance coverage squared as soon as possible, ahead of the mandate taking effect.
Monday, June 10. 2013
The Affordable Care Act is poised to go into effect starting next year, but many experts have noted that the plans available to consumers nationwide might be more expensive than they're used to. This might cause problems especially for those with low incomes who have not had to pay for coverage before.
Though the ACA was specifically designed to help those with low incomes to obtain coverage for the first time, many experts believe that those people will face relatively unaffordable health insurance costs, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. Data shows that about a third of workers with low wages work for companies with fewer than 100 employees, which may mean that those companies have some tough decisions to make about how they'll cover those people, if they do at all.
Those who do receive coverage will likely pay a sizable percentage of their annual salaries - before taxes - to receive it, the report said. For instance, some plans would apply a premium of 9.5 percent of workers' salaries, which is a lot for those making less than $30,000 per year.
Many companies may simply prefer to pay the $2,000 per-employee federal fine than subsidize their workers' insurance, as this will likely have a far higher price tag.
Sunday, June 9. 2013
Many experts have wondered just how the cost of health insurance might be affected by the Affordable Care Act, and now estimates from one state show that it could increase significantly.
The Ohio Department of Insurance recently completed a survey of 214 healthcare plans submitted to it by 14 companies for 2014, when the ACA goes into effect, and in general, costs could increase by as much as 88 percent in all, according to a report from the agency. The current average Ohio resident pays about $223 for their health insurance, and that cost could rise to about $420 next year when the ACA goes into effect.
"We have warned of these increases since a state-specific study in 2011 indicated Ohio would be significantly impacted by the ACA," said Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor. "The Department's initial analysis of the proposed rates show consumers will have fewer choices and pay much higher premiums for their health insurance starting in 2014."
Individuals may want to look into their options for insuring themselves and their families now, before the healthcare mandate goes into effect, to get a better idea of what kinds of plans will be available to them.
Thursday, June 6. 2013
One aspect of the Affordable Care Act which may prove troublesome for some Americans mandates that health insurance costs cannot rise more than a specific percentage across certain age groups.
Many young people, who tend to have full-time jobs at rates lower than older age groups, may have difficulty obtaining coverage through their employers because of the ACA's rule that businesses with more than 50 employees working 30-plus hours per week must provide them with a plan, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. This may leave those younger part-time workers to buy their own coverage, which may be unfeasible given the pay that typically comes with positions that are not full-time.
Experts say that mandate further means that older consumers, who typically have far more health expenses than younger ones, cannot have plans whose rates exceed that limit, and to cover the added costs, many insurers are expected to significantly increase rates for people in their 20s and 30s to make up the difference, the report said. As such, companies employing many young people may face far higher costs.
Many companies may respond by scaling back workers' hours until they do not reach the 50-employee threshold that mandates coverage, leaving some workers to seek plans of their own.
The Affordable Care Act mandates that all consumers nationwide be covered by some sort of health insurance at the start of the new year, and exchanges to help them find such plans open for enrollment in October. However, the Obama administration is now beginning its final push to educate consumers about these issues.
The Obama administration will soon push consumers to enroll in the exchanges as soon as possible before the coverage mandate goes into effect, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. However, many experts have noted that polls about consumer preparedness for enrollment paint a rather troubling picture for the exchanges.
Specifically, many remain unaware of the ways in which these exchanges might work, and the Obama administration also admits that for these exchanges to work, between 2.6 million and 2.7 million people signing up for them will have to be young and healthy, the report said. In the past, many within that demographic have not signed up for health insurance, and would theoretically reduce risk for insurers, in turn keeping premiums lower for others.
Consumers will likely have to consider their options for coverage under the ACA, but it may not always be easy to sign up for ACA exchanges, meaning they might have to seek other options.