At least in name the first stage of Obamacare is here. With the official opening pitch both federal and state Individual health benefit exchanges have their online portals working or flashing messages when they will be accessible.
I had a chance to test several state portals for health benefit exchanges. The best one is healthcare.gov a central clearing house that directs traffic to the individual state exchanges. This morning it took 20 seconds to load, actually not a bad load time compared to other web sites.
The portal in California (CoveredCalifornia.com) has a calculator to estimate eligibility and subsidies. It also outlines several levels of plans, the approved insurers and the estimated premiums..
Obamacare does little to change what is required from providers. In some states the insurers on the HBX are limited.
It mostly impacts insurers to provide a standard benefit package, limit their profits, and determines eligibilty for subsidies and/or tax credits.
The biggest change for consumers is the individual mandate and the employer mandates. This is put in place to offset insuring the uninsured and uninsurable with pre-existing conditions.
Another very interesting question is how the reader learned about Obamacare. One of the answers is ‘SOCIAL MEDIA”. That was a first for this writer. It confirms how important social media has become in our society. Social media is not just optional and the use of the internet becomes almost essential for banking, navigating marketplaces,shopping, and for mobile health as well as telemedicine.
No one factors in the dividend from a healthier population, with good preventive care, nor the decrease in disability from chronic disease by early treatment. The additional infusion of capital into health care facilities will stimulate our lagging economic recovery.
The transition period will be a challenge for some, and flexibility is essential to make this acceptable to business and individuals as well.