Sunday, May 18, 2014

Affordable Care Act------Silk Scarf or Pig's Ear ?

Silk Scarf or Pig’s Ear ?

President Obama and the Democrats insist that the Affordable Care Act is working and has increased the number of insured, yet most Americans do not like the law.

Figures from the Heritage Foundation in their Consumer Power  Report “Obamacare Squandered $1.2 Billion on Failed Exchanges

It all began when HBX was enrolling carriers for each state. At best it was a difficult sell with much arm-twisting   In Maryland, Mississippi, New Mexico, and South Dakota, officials had to beg and plead just to get one carrier into the state’s private market.

Continuing problems are ongoing in many state exchanges. There’s only one insurance carrier – Blue Cross Blue Shield – in West Virginia’s exchange.

Hawaii is another consensus pick, and some experts say the state might never be able to support its Obamacare exchange. Hawaii was near the bottom for total enrollment, signing up just 15 percent of its eligible population, and had the second-worst mix of young adults. The state’s exchange also suffers from the fact that Hawaii had a low uninsurance rate to begin with – meaning there’s a smaller pool of potential customers there, which makes the state less attractive to insurers. Hawaii’s “Health Connector” has signed up the smallest number of people of any state in the country and has no plans to finance their operations moving forward. Their current plan appears to be to all-but-close-up-shop and outsource all of the exchange functions to the state Department of Human Services. The state’s leading insurance company says it is time to pull the plug. Expect this one to be official any day now.

Health care analysts are also keeping an eye on premiums in Maryland, Mississippi, New Mexico, and South Dakota, where officials had to beg and plead just to get one carrier into the state’s private market.

The expected rise in premiums will vary greatly from state to state, smaller states with fewer enrollees and a bias toward older and sicker people will see sharp rises in premiums.  It’s impossible, though, to say with any certainty whether a particular state will see an above-average price increase next year.   Maryland, Mississippi, New Mexico, and South Dakota,  are among those HBXs to watch.   Minnesota’s exchange has been a disaster, and they recently brought in [Deloitte] on a nine-month $4.95 million contract to fix it. It is unclear whether they will be successful.

Vermont, the tiny state with giant ambitions to use Obamacare as a stepping stone to single-payer, government-run health care is still facing enormous problems dealing with its tiny population. They are using CGI, the same vendor that failed on the federal, and have given them a deadline of July 2 to get the site working. It is unclear what Vermont will do if they fail to deliver by that date.

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