It’s nearly fall and along with your pumpkin spice latte or hot caramel apple cider, the Administration is hoping you’ll purchase some healthcare coverage from a federal or state exchange. However, this year is expected to be an especially uphill battle.
Open enrollment is around the corner and we’re getting a peak into the strategy that the Obama Administration plans to use to hit enrollment targets. Health and Human Services (HHS) plans to target a total of 10.5 million people who are eligible for ObamaCare, but who remain uninsured.
Of that population the majority are poor, young, and from communities of color. The Administration will focus efforts on five targeted cities Miami, Dallas, Houston, northern New Jersey, and Chicago.
The Congressional Budget Office predicted that 21 million would have insurance by 2016 – a far cry from current enrollments. HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell released revised figures that ObamaCare enrollments have hit 17.6 million – 1.2 million higher than previous estimates. That figure includes 15.3 million people who gained coverage through the individual marketplace or through Medicaid as well as 2.3 million young adults who stayed on their parent’s plan until they turn 26.
Where did those additional 1.2 million people come from? Good question. Perhaps their counting was incorrect the first time or perhaps the Administration is doing some fuzzy math. Whatever the case, it’s the emotional boost the Administration needed to psyche itself up for a tougher enrollment period as all of the low-hanging fruit is gone.
The Hill reports:
The biggest hurdle will be convincing people who have low incomes and small savings accounts to sign up for healthcare, Burwell said, citing an independent study that found half of uninsured people have less than $100 in savings.
The new HHS data confirmed the challenge: 40 percent of the uninsured are living at or near the poverty line. Additionally, about one-third of people are Hispanic, black or Asian, and half are between the ages of 18 and 34 — all demographics that have been historically difficult to reach.
Still, these figures leave out millions of people who are not eligible for marketplace coverage either because their income doesn’t qualify for subsidies or because they do not reside legally in the country. “That’s obviously considerably smaller than the overall uninsured population,” a senior HHS official said Tuesday.
He added that it’s a shift in strategy that will help HHS continue to be aggressive on outreach while facing dwindling budgets.
Burwell will also rely on strategies that have been tested during the previous two years of enrollment, which helped 17.6 million people gain coverage — another new figure she released Tuesday.
How interesting, a government agency forced to do more with less. Sounds like life in the real for-profit world.
Gone are the days of Obamacare navigators showing up at clubs, parties, and sneaker stores to harass young people into purchasing insurance. No more bro-surance and ho-surance ads luring young people with the prospects of emergency care and contraceptives for your binge-drinking and hookups. Forget about expensive ad buys during the Olympics and the Superbowl. No longer will our hard-earned tax dollars go towards marketing campaigns that produced big splashy ads online and on billboards about the benefits of ObamaCare. I wonder if we can recoup any of those wasted dollars on promoting broken-down state exchange websites?
Advertising aside, ObamaCare continues to be a bad deal for most Americans. It fails at being affordable on its own merits and we as taxpayers are forced to provide subsidies for over 85 percent of those who take it. Our taxes are also going toward Medicaid expansion for those who still can’t afford the Affordable Care Act – even with generous subsidies.
The Administration hopes that the stubborn uninsured will be so angry about their tax penalty that they’ll come around to buying ObamaCare policies. This stick approach at best is a reminder that if you force people to do something they’ll do it. Signups for ObamaCare tell us nothing about the quality and access to care that they are actually receiving. What good is ObamaCare to someone with cancer if they can’t find anyone to treat them? Unfortunately, the hardship of ObamaCare isn't over yet, though we are increasingly optimistic that it is going to happen.