Affordable Care Act – Tomorrow is First Deadline

Whether you are a fan of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or not, the end of day tomorrow is the deadline for signing up for coverage effective January 1. You can sign up after this date, but to avoid the first year small penalty to have coverage under the mandate, you will need to sign up by end of March. I was one of those folks that lost coverage, but knew it was coming since I signed up for my existing plan back in May. I was able to go online and find similar, but cheaper or better, but slightly more expensive coverage under the federal exchange, even without factoring in the subsidy.

Keeping my policies was not an option, as we had to get a second special state high risk pool policy, as one of my children was denied coverage when I first got my existing coverage due to a pre-existing condition. This last point is vital as this is one of the major selling points for ACA – you cannot be denied coverage now or in the future for a pre-existing condition. When I signed up in May, we had to give family medical history, etc. and on the exchange we need only provide demographic data and all five of us are now on the same plan effective January 1.

For the past two years, I have been a broken record that law is imperfect, complex and, beginning October 1, has been rolled out poorly. The President deserves every criticism for the poor rollout and he has jeopardized a needed law as it moves the ball forward in a huge way for those uninsured and folks who cannot get affordable coverage due to pre-existing conditions. Its opposition deserves every criticism as well, with not expanding Medicaid in 20 states, not doing state based exchanges in 36 states and not enabling better communication of how to use the system. Voting to repeal the law over 40 times, while misusing the time to not make it better, was unfortunate.

Even with the balky rollout, as of November 30, almost 1.2 million Americans (803,000 for expanded Medicaid and 365,000 for the insurance policies had signed up on top of the 3 million young adults who were able to stay on their parents’ plan as a result of an earlier implemented part of the law. In December, the numbers are significant and I am eager to see the results. Note, we are not out of the woods on the implementation issues, as I am positive we will see some poor handoff and billing issues arise in January. Yet, we need to work through those as well, as at the end of the day, more folks are getting insurance (and guaranteed coverage) who could not previously.

One final comment and I wrote a post about this three months ago. As a retired actuary, benefits consultant and former director of compensation and benefits, young people should be evaluating their own risk/ cost profile as they make their decision whether to sign up. For someone (especially a politically motivated person) to advise you not to sign up for coverage without knowing your circumstances is inappropriate. As a parent, all I can say is I am carrying my age 22-year-old and age 20-year-old children on my policy. In my opinion, the catastrophic risk is too great, plus even if healthy, they do need to see the doctor for preventive care.

A copy of this post can be accessed with the following link: https://musingsofanoldfart.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/advising-young-people-not-to-have-healthcare-insurance-is-imprudent/

The major phase of the Affordable Care Act, with all of its imperfections, is here. If you don’t have coverage, look at your options and talk with people who know what they are talking about and not trying to make a political point – this is too important for you.

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11 thoughts on “Affordable Care Act – Tomorrow is First Deadline

  1. The entire rollout has been frustrating and confusing. 🙂 The deadline you mentioned doesn’t apply to Medicaid/CHIP coverage which typically begins immediately on the day of the application.

    • From what I read tonight, they have had 2 million visitors today just on the federal website. There will still be many kinks in the next two weeks. I am using your word of the day on my daughter in practice for the SAT in March. Thanks. Happy holidays. BTG

      • That is a good amount of visitors. It would be interesting to know how many signed up for coverage. I would hope any kinks were resolved quicker in the future.

        Ambulate is a good SAT word. 🙂 I found that it helped to practice taking the SAT in similar conditions including starting at 7:45 am, and breaking at any allocated breaks they included. It takes practice to sit through a 3 hour 45 min exam.

        Happy Holidays/Merry Christmas.

      • When I went to H.S. class started at 7:29 am, so as a teenager I was used to getting up early. The main thing though is to practice sitting through the exam and keeping focused. 🙂

  2. Early estimates for Dec 31 are over 2 million in the exchanges and I have not heard an updated tally on the Medicaid expansion which was at 803,000 at Nov month end. In addition to the 3 million young adults added earlier to parent polices, we need to factor the number of net increases in the employer market due to the mandate. If we could only get the remaining states to expand Medicaid that would help another couple of million folks.

  3. Updated numbers from Jan. 31, 2014. 3.3 million enrollees in the exchanges, plus 6.3 million in the Medicaid expansion, for a total of 9.6 million. Tacking on the 3 million young adults added to parent plans on the earlier implemented part of the law, that is over 12.6 million newly covered. The Wellpoint CEO whose company has added 500,000 new participants said enrollees are the demographics we expected.

  4. Note to Readers: Updated numbers as of March 15 for the ACA exchanges have passed 5 million. Adding the 6 million in the Medicaid expansion plus 3 million young adults from the earlier phase and that tallies over 14 million. That does not count people added in employer plans, which was predicted, due to the mandate. One thing to remember, the 3 million young adults are baked into the numbers when counting uninsured rates in December, 2013. But, the first two month of 2014 have seen a reduction in the number of uninsured.

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