Saturday, January 3, 2015

Some Distrubing Facts About The ObamaCare 2014-2015 Enrollment

First, if you didn't enroll in any ObamaCare exchange by December 15th of 2014, you're out of luck if you want coverage starting January 1, 2015; even though you can continue to enroll through February 15th.  The continuance through February is only to avoid having to pay an IRS tax penalty.  The ObamaCare enrollment rules are very clear and simple.
If you were currently enrolled in a plan in 2014, your coverage ends December 31, 2014.  Your existing 2014 plan will be automatically renewed unless you cancel or change that plan by December 15, 2014.  If you enroll from the 1st to the 15th of any month, your coverage will begin on the 1st day of the next month.  Enroll past the 15th of a month and coverage will begin on the 1st day of the second month going forward.
With the December 15th deadline date in mind, Health and Human Services recently announced that a total of 6.4 million people had enrolled/re-enrolled by December 15th.  Of that, 1.9 million were new enrollees; meaning that only 4.5 million from last year's insurance automatically renewed (60%) or changed (40%) their insurance for 2015.

To put these numbers in perspective you need to understand what happened last year.  Originally, the President proudly proclaimed 8 million enrollees.  Then, later this year, the number was down to 7.3 million because some 600,000 never paid for the insurance they signed up for.  In November, we found out that another 400,000 were double counted.  Thus, the actual 2014 enrollment was only 6.9 million. 

So, what is wrong with this picture?

To start with, only 4.5 million of last year's 6.9 million renewed their insurance coverage for 2015; meaning that 2.4 million took a positive action to cancel in order to avoid automatic renewal. That hardly bodes well for an insurance system that the Democrats said Americans would "grow" to like.  Also, the new number of 1.9 million is very close, but still less than, last year's 2.1 million enrollees by the end of 2013.  Hardly, any improvement over last year's belief that more people would have signed up if the ObamaCare website had been working properly.  All indications are that the website worked fine this year.  Of course, if the current 6.4 number doesn't grow past last year's 6.9 million signups, we might actually see a system that is in retreat and not expanding.  Also, 6.4 million barely scratches the surface of the 42 million Americans without health insurance that, supposedly, ObamaCare was meant to help.  In fact, some government figures show that the number of uninsured actually increased in the first year of ObamaCare.

Then, there's the "freebee" problem.  According to data released by Health and Human Services, 10 million more people went on Medicaid (free health insurance) in the last year due to ObamaCare's Medicaid expansion.  Also, another study found that 87% of people who signed up received government subsidies.  Thus, only 13% of 4.5 million or 600,000 paid full fare for their insurance.  Why more people aren't signing up for exchange insurance plans is simple.  The costs are too high when you look at the monthly premiums, the high deductibles, and the annual out-of-pocket-caps.

Those not buying insurance this year are going to be shocked when the IRS tags them with a minimum penalty of $365 or the greater of two percent of their income for not being insured. Gone is last year's $95 penalty or one percent of income; whichever is higher.

Lastly, this is the year that the employer mandate kicks in and many companies (those with 50 employees or more) will have to pay a penalty for not providing health insurance.  How the mandate affects employer-provided insurance rates is yet to be seen.  Some think that, rather than incur a hefty cost for providing insurance, some number of employers may elect to pay a lower-cost penalty instead.  Or, will the current trend of replacing full time employee with part-timers continue as companies jockey to avoid paying for insurance and, at the same time, avoid any penalties?  Whatever the case may be, it is quite possible that 2015 will be another year where there is no increase in median family income as full-time, high-paying jobs are replaced with lower-paying part-time work.


Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment:

U.S. Health Chief Calls Review After Obamacare Inflation:

Obamacare Enrollment Numbers As Of Dec. 31:

 1.9 million new customers enroll in Obamacare:

January 2014:  Obamacare Enrollment Surges Past 2 Million:

A whopping 87 per cent of Obamacare customers to get taxpayer-funded subsidies:

Medicaid Rolls Surge Under Affordable Care Act:

US Census Data: Uninsured Rate…Increased in 2014?:

Unable to Meet the Deductible or the Doctor: 

Employer Mandate | U.S. Chamber of Commerce:

How Businesses Are Handling the Obamacare Employer Mandate:

Median Incomes Fell for All But Richest in 2010-13, Fed Says:

Wealth gap between middle class and rich widest ever:

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