April 14 2014
If You Don’t Like Your Plan, You Can’t Leave Your Plan ...
Patrice J. Lee
Last week’s big headline was that Kathleen Sebelius is stepping down, but that doesn’t stop the headache that is ObamaCare.
The Administration is claiming that more than 7 million Americans have signed up for healthcare coverage through the exchanges, although that number is inflated given that at least twenty percent have yet to pay their first month’s premium. And we also don’t know how many of those people were previously uninsured –the aim of the healthcare law. However, once fully enrolled ObamaCare signups find new difficulties such as confirming their coverage or finding a doctor who will actually accept it. Cancer patients are finding that they are locked out of much-needed specialized care.
The next big hurdle will be getting rid of your ObamaCare plan if you don’t like it or no longer want it. Earlier this year, Fox News reported the story of a Kansas woman who spent six weeks trying to un-enroll. For her it “consumed her life” as she bounced from help lines to online chats to blast emails addressed to anyone who would listen. A Florida woman faced similar challenges when she tried to cancel her plan. After securing a fulltime job with health coverage, she asked to get out of her ObamaCare plan and found it impossible since the website had not been set up to un-enroll. She was even forced pay for both insurance plans simultaneously while she waited to get her ObamaCare plan cancelled.
Now, an editorial writer for The Washington Times chronicled his travails when he tried to cancel his plan. After his private plan was cancelled, he was only left with options in the ObamaCare exchange where he would be forced to pay twice as much for less coverage.
Drew Johnson tells his story:
Signing up for Obamacare was a tremendous hassle. But even that experience was a joy compared with what I went through to cancel my coverage.
Ultimately, on my umpteenth try, three days into the process, I was finally able to get into the Healthcare.gov site, wade through several pages and cancel my plan — although, unlike with most insurance plans, I couldn’t get a prorated refund on the days I had paid for but wouldn’t need. One last $100 slap in the face.
It was difficult to sign up for Obamacare, but nowhere near as hard as it was to leave the program. That raises a serious question: Was Obamacare designed to inflate its numbers by holding enrollees hostage in the program once they signed up? From my experience, that certainly seems to be the case.
His tale of spending hours on the phone only to be transferred or disconnected is worth the read. It signals that if inadequate thought went into planning the enrollment process into ObamaCare even less was spent on how to cancel a policy.
It could be intentional to –as the Times writer posits- a ruse to inflate the numbers, but the Administration’s handling of the President’s signature legislation rollout was so amateurish and embarrassing that it’s possibly just incompetence.
Whatever the case, Americans who sign up for ObamaCare enter a new world of potentially greater costs for less access to care. ObamaCare remains fundamentally flawed. It costs more than predicted, raises the costs of healthcare, has created millions of uninsured Americans, and will cover less previously uninsured Americans than predicted.
These stories put a more personal face on what happens when government thinks it can be more effective than the private sector at providing services like healthcare. In facts it distorts the market and sets of problems that ripple across the market and the economy.
ObamaCare remains a bad deal for Americans –one that looks increasingly like a trap rather than a safety net.