NEWS: Washington Post: Obamacare’s Biggest Losers

December 12, 2013

#BrokenPromises and Broken Website Leave Many Without Coverage As Deadline Looms

With Cancellations far Exceeding Sign Ups, Millions of Americans are Poised to be Without Coverage January 1

Less than two weeks remain for Americans to sign up for health care on the health law’s exchanges to ensure coverage by January 1. For the more than five million Americans who have had their plans canceled, this means not only successfully navigating the still-troubled HealthCare.gov but also paying the first month’s premium and hoping that the administration successfully processes enrollment information – far from guaranteed as 30 to 40 percent of the marketplaces have not yet been built. The Washington Post explains that “Obamacare’s biggest losers” are “[p]eople whose current plans have been canceled but who are having trouble getting through HealthCare.Gov to purchase coverage by Dec. 23.” This includes John Gisler’s son, “who has a rare degenerative condition affecting his coordination and speech. His current coverage through Utah’s high-risk insurance pool plan ends Dec. 31.”

The president claimed that cancellation notices were only sent to Americans with what he determined were inadequate plans, but, as the Post reports, “There are also approximately 300,000 Americans receiving coverage through state-run high-risk plans, which provide subsidized insurance to residents who insurance companies have rejected because of preexisting conditions. About two-thirds of them will lose coverage at the end of this month.” This is not what the president promised in selling his health care law.

December 11, 2013

Obamacare’s Biggest Losers

After three months and more than 50 phone calls, John Gisler gave up on buying coverage through HealthCare.gov.

Gisler wanted to purchase a plan for his 45-year-old son, who has a rare degenerative condition affecting his coordination and speech. His current coverage through Utah’s high-risk insurance pool plan ends Dec. 31. By that time, the Obama administration expects enrollees to transition into health plans sold through the new health-care law.

But so far, Gisler hasn’t succeeded in purchasing coverage -- but not for a lack of effort.

“We’ve had three separate applications that failed to make it through,” Gisler says. “I have a notebook with all the calls I’ve made, maybe 50 or 100. It just goes on and on.”

Earlier this week, Gisler quit trying. Worried about a potential gap in coverage, he decided to forgo his son’s $3,000 tax credit and buy outside of the exchange from a local insurance broker.

“We have a son who is critically ill,” he says. “We cannot take any chances. Not having insurance would, in no short order, lead our family to bankruptcy.”

The Affordable Care Act is designed to expand health insurance coverage. But the law's insurance cancellations mixed with the Web site's problems might leave some people who have coverage now uninsured in the new year.

These are Obamacare's biggest losers: People whose current plans have been canceled but who are having trouble getting through HealthCare.Gov to purchase coverage by Dec. 23 -- the deadline for buying insurance that begins Jan. 1.

The concern is particularly acute for patients with expensive medical conditions, who rely on their coverage for doctor visits and drug refills that would otherwise break the bank. …

There are also approximately 300,000 Americans receiving coverage through state-run high-risk plans, which provide subsidized insurance to residents who insurance companies have rejected because of preexisting conditions. About two-thirds of them will lose coverage at the end of this month. These programs tend to cover some of the sickest patients, whose monthly medications can cost upwards of $60,000 without coverage.

“For some of the high-risk members, it's a matter of life or death,” says Tanya Case, executive director of the National Association of State High Risk Pools. “We have many members who are on specialty medications that they have no way of affording on their own.” …

Read the complete story online here.

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