This time last year, battles were waging in Congress over the implementation of the Obamacare healthcare law, as well as the possibility of a full repeal. After a full open enrollment season, the verdict is still out on the overall execution of the program. Some quick thoughts from our Obamacare experience with clients:
1) The healthcare.gov website must improve.
Although some of the kinks have been worked out, the user experience is still inconsistent with glitches and site issues. Many people gave up on the process simply due to technical issues.
2) The consumer need for a health insurance agent is critical.
The healthcare.gov ‘navigators’ aren’t equipped to explain health plan benefits as well as costs in full detail. Their job is more to facilitate the transaction by plugging your information into the system and explaining the plans and tax credits/subsidies you may be eligible for.
3) Many people still don’t understand that they are no longer able to buy individual health insurance whenever they want throughout the year.
Unless you have a ‘special life event’ such as marriage, moving out of state, or a child being born, consumers are limited to only buying health insurance during the annual enrollment period which this season is November 15th, 2014-February 15th, 2015. Short term health plans are excellent ‘catastrophic’ type health plans to bridge the gap if you missed the deadline this past season.
4) Obamacare is here to stay.
It’s true that the program will continue to be tweaked over time, but all in all, a full repeal is probably not going to happen.