Health Care Reform. A State of Change.

Posted by Phil Dougherty
November 17, 2013

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know we’ve been gearing up for the important changes to our health care system. We’ve spent months preparing and planning for the most significant changes since the introduction of Medicare in 1966.  The key word here is “change”.  We knew the new Health Care law was going to create a lot of it. What we know now is the best way to manage that change is with patience, flexibility, and when appropriate…a sense of humor. More of each will be needed.

President Obama admitted in his speech, the complexities of the market were clearly underestimated and that people need help maneuvering through this labyrinth. (I wish he’d suggested calling a broker…but that would have been asking a lot.) Are we surprised that, in an industry as complex as health insurance, a government-run website was not going to be the fix-all. (Why we went to Canada for code instead of Silicon Valley is mind-boggling!)

Well, the bomb he dropped, asking insurance carriers to extend policies for 12 months, indicates there is still a lack of understanding of the market complexities.  It may seem a simple fix, but is anything but, and the insurance market is now in a new state of tizzy. Whether this plea for an extension can or will be implemented in California will be up to each carrier to analyze and decide.  There will certainly be pressure to comply from the Insurance Commissioner and consumers but this request is more than “crossing a‘t’ or dotting an ‘i’. It would certainly be a welcome “re-change” for some consumers who got a glimpse of some sizable rate increases.

As a broker, we continue to move forward and adapt to this ever-changing environment.  We are helping our clients sort through options, pointing out the new intricacies, and untangling the web of this new healthcare system.

Tip:  Since the new private marketplace is offering plans with the same essential benefits as the public exchange, unless you qualify for a subsidy, there is no compelling reason to enroll on the public exchange (Covered CA). The private market will offer more options and a more streamlined enrollment process.

We are currently unable to directly assist our clients with enrollment in Covered CA due to technical problems on the website that won’t allow us access to client accounts. (This is what we were to have tested in July!)  So we are advising clients who believe they will qualify for a subsidy to enroll directly through Covered CA’s website or by calling them at 800-300-1506.

Stayed tuned for more!

Phil Dougherty