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Friday, December 20, 2013

ObamaCare: We Did Not Know What was In It Until It Passed

It did pass, and we still don't know what  is in it.  Each day we learn of waivers, modifications, amendments to 'fix' fatal flaws in the law.  This is the simple part.....getting people to sign on for health coverage....the doorway to health and wellness.

Dates have been set, mandates have been put on hold, insurance policies were cancelled, no wait..Obama says "Kings X", I take that back. Sebelius smiles and goes before congress, non-plussed.  She must be close to retirement so no problem and undoubtedly she will be through with her public service.  I wonder if she has health coverage?

Many of us have tried to take the high road and plan health reform logically analyzing each step as we proceed.  This is almost a futile endeavour, because the landscape is constantly changing.




Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius testifies at a Congressional panel last week. The White House has outlined a new exemption under the Affordable Care Act






n a last-minute policy change, the Obama administration waived the so-called individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act for people whose individual health insurance policy is being canceled.
The act requires most Americans to have qualified health insurance starting in 2014 or pay a tax penalty, unless they meet one of myriad exemptions. One is if qualifying coverage would cost more than 8 percent of household income (the affordability exemption). Another is they can prove a hardship such as homelessness, bankruptcy, domestic violence, large medical debts, utility shutoff notice or death in the family.
Under new guidance issued late Thursday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said that having an individual insurance policy canceled now qualifies for the hardship exemption.
The process is not really that simple:
People who qualify for the cancellation hardship exemption have two options:
-- Don't buy coverage and don't pay a fine.
-- Buy a bare-bones catastrophic policy on an exchange. These catastrophic policies do not meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, but people who buy them won't owe a fine. Before Thursday's rule change, to buy this policy a person had to be younger than 30 or meet the affordability exemption.
To qualify for the new policy-cancellation exemption, consumers must complete a hardship application, which will let them purchase a catastrophic plan or receive a penalty waiver, according to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (For the application, see http://1.usa.gov/19YrBnK.)
To purchase the catastrophic policy, they must submit the form, and evidence of a canceled policy, to a company selling such policies in their area.
The announcement came just days before the Monday deadline for enrolling in coverage to start Jan. 1, and insurance companies are not happy.
When Obama announced another policy reversal in November - saying insurance companies could temporarily renew certain policies that were to be canceled because they did not comply with the act - he gave states the option of allowing that or not.
Covered California did not. As a result, most individual health policies in California that are not grandfathered will be canceled Dec. 31.
Some customers of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California will be able to keep their non compliant policies until the end of February or March, respectively, under a settlement with the state insurance commissioner.
People with individual plans that are grandfathered, meaning they had them before the act was signed in March 2010, may keep them until the insurance company decides to cancel them.
It appears that nothing is guaranteed as to the roll out. Insurers, providers, hospitals are all nervously watching and waiting. 


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