In August I wrote about the ACA navigators and the difficulties of getting them ready to enroll people in healthcare plans through the healthcare exchanges that launch on October 1. Now we are just a week away from opening these healthcare exchanges.
As of last Friday, problems were still surfacing. The Wall Street Journal reported on September 20 that the software programs in many exchanges had glitches in reporting the pricing of the plans sold on these exchanges. See Pricing Glitch Afflicts Rollout of Online Health Exchanges, by Christopher Weaver, Timothy W. Martin, and Jennifer Corbett Dooren, September 20, 2013.
Although I am not a fan of Obamacare generally, I do support the concept of healthcare exchanges. I think it is a good idea to help consumers compare the costs and terms of plans available to them in the marketplace.
The transparency in pricing various healthcare plans that exchanges provide is helpful. If we could also get transparency from doctors and hospitals and other healthcare providers, we might begin to get some control over healthcare costs.
My beef with the exchanges is that I don’t like the federal government running them—nor the states, for that matter. I prefer the private exchanges that are springing up, such as those offered by Aon, Aetna, and other insurers. I trust private entities to run these exchanges more efficiently and accurately than the government.
Nevertheless, I hope that the public healthcare exchanges get off to a good start. I just don’t think it is likely that they will, given their slow start.
My real problems with Obamacare lie in the minimum essential coverage requirements and the affordable coverage requirements. I believe that a wider variety of plans should be available to consumers, so that we can pick among a broad range of healthcare insurance products that best meet our families’ needs.
Instead, Obamacare has imposed countless requirements in a variety of healthcare areas. Those regulations are still being issued, even as the law goes into effect. Nancy Pelosi’s famous statement that Congress would have to pass healthcare reform to know what’s in it wasn’t even accurate—it is only once Health & Human Services issues final regulations that we really know what is covered.
Meanwhile, the uncertainty that employers have in what their costs will be have been—and will continue to be—a drag on their decisions to hire and increase employees’ hours and wages.
Although I am hopeful that the launch of the exchanges will go smoothly, I do not expect it. I expect continued confusion in the healthcare arena for years to come.
What do you expect around the launch of the Affordable Care Act, in the short term and the long term?