The second Open Enrollment period for Obamacare is around the corner (starting November 15) — but Americans are still confused, and the Obama administration is still unprepared.
In a recent survey by the Associated Press, the Affordable Care Act ranked as the most complicated political issue — even outranking Social Security financing and the Federal Reserve’s interest rates. Seventy-five percent said the healthcare law is difficult to understand, while 4 out of 10 say it’s very hard to understand.
So with the Open Enrollment period around the corner, Americans are looking towards the Obama administration with hopes that they will fix last year’s mistakes — with a working website, an organized application process, and honest promises about keeping your doctor.
But don’t hold your breath. Looking at headlines from last week alone, the future is not bright for the Obamacare wish list:
While a makeover is underway, complications with HealthCare.gov are still many. Administration officials are saying there will be a “visible improvement, but not perfection” on HealthCare.gov. Despite the fact that the Obama Administration has spent billions and billions of untraceable dollars — HealthCare.gov is still not expected to work properly, perfectly.
New customers may find a shortened application form, but Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said there is concern about the website being able to withstand the millions of people on the HealthCare.gov website. Sounds like another website crash is around the corner.
And for those already enrolled, you’re not off the hook either. More than 300,000 Americans are at risk of losing their subsidies because of incomplete information on their health care application. Another 115,000 may lose coverage because they didn’t provide requested documents. Collectively, over 400,000 people have data-matching problems. But before you cry “user error”:
“A report released in July by the Health and Human Services Department’s office of inspector general found that the federal marketplace sent notices to applicants requesting additional documents to resolve inconsistencies, but lacked the system capability to process them and resolve the mismatches.”
Sigh. And if you’re considering automatically enrolling? Beware.
Analysts warn that just blindly re-enrolling could mean trouble for consumers. “This notion of just sit back and re-enroll is really misleading and I think could cause a lot of harm to people,” said Bob Laszewski of Health Policy and Strategy Associates to Fox News Reporter Jim Angle.
“‘Everyone’s going to have differences in their subsidies,” Laszewski said. “The vast majority really probably need to change plans in order to continue with the same out of pocket premium. And they’re not going to know if their premium has changed unless they go in and re-enroll.”
But even if individuals manage to get health care through the Affordable Care Act, the confusion only continues. Finding a doctor of your choice that also accepts your new insurance has proved to be a consistent challenge.
“This is part of the Affordable Care Act that doesn’t quite work yet,” said Mary Edwards in a recent LA Times article. “This game of who’s in and who’s out is tiresome.”
There’s no wonder Americans rank Obamacare as the most confusing political issue — the application process is fraught with problems and the system as a whole is managed by an unprepared administration. And the promises President Obama touted? False.
Americans need health care options that work — options that include affordable costs, quality care, and the ability to decide for themselves. Yet the clock is ticking, and the Obama administration still hasn’t fixed their broken health care system.
The House has passed multiple solutions that address the confusions Americans have with Obamacare and protect them from the law’s most harmful impact. Solutions that not only offer affordable and patient-centered alternatives, but solutions that allow American families to make their own choices about their health care.