Three More Changes to Health Reform Law

This was taken from a Humana email I received late yesterday.

Three more changes to reform law

In the past two weeks, the Obama administration has announced three major changes.

  • Consumers will now have until Dec. 23 to enroll in coverage to begin on Jan. 1. The deadline had been Dec. 15, “but since so many people have had difficulty buying coverage, they’re moving it back a week,” wrote Sarah Kliff in the Washington Post. “The key thing to watch here is how well the insurance companies are able to handle this compressed deadline.”

    AHIP spokesman Robert Zirkelbach says pushing the deadline back by eight days “makes it more challenging to process enrollments in time for coverage to begin on Jan. 1. Ultimately it will depend on how many people enroll in those last few days.”

  • The beginning of next year’s open enrollment period has been pushed back from Oct. 15 to Nov. 15. White House press secretary Jay Carney said this will help insurers: “This gives them more time to assess the pool of people who are getting insurance through the marketplaces and make decisions about what rates will look like in the coming year.”

    As many pundits and politicians have noted, however, pushing the date back a month also means starting enrollment after the November elections. “If Obamacare is so great,” said House Republican leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, “why are Democrats so scared of voters knowing its consequences?”

  • The launch of the online small business insurance marketplace, known as the SHOP exchange, has already had two delays. The administration further delayed its launch, announcing the day before Thanksgiving that online enrollment will be delayed for a year, until November 2014, in states where the federal government is running the exchange.

    The Washington Post wrote, “Administration officials characterized the decision as one made necessary as they prioritized fixes to the individual health exchange.”

    Small businesses can still get subsidized coverage, but instead of enrolling online through healthcare.gov, they have to “go directly to an agent, broker, or to an insurance company with plans certified by the marketplace,” a Q&A document from CMS explains.

    “This new delay announcement is a disappointment but not a surprise,” said the president and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business. “Small businesses continue to be low on the priority list during the Obamacare implementation process.”

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