Nine in ten heard from clients again with post-enrollment problems.
8:33 AM, Jul 17, 2014 • By WHITNEY BLAKE
During the open enrollment period for the state and federal health care exchanges, each staff member and volunteer worked with an average of 1.8 people per day, according to a survey of assister programs released by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser calculated the number of people receiving aid between October 1, 2013 and the end of April, 2014:
More than 4,400 Assister Programs, employing more than 28,000 full-time-equivalent staff and volunteers, helped an estimated 10.6 million people during the first Open Enrollment period.
If you do the math, 28,000 individuals assisting 10.6 million people over 210 days breaks down to 1.8 people per day per service representative. While the individualized guidance was time consuming, the study revealed that the assister programs should have been able to help more people in the span of a full workday. The questionnaire answers indicated that 64 percent of the programs spent an average of 1-2 hours with each person, 18 percent took 2-3 hours, and just five percent exceeded three hours.
The assister programs faced a myriad of other issues too. From the New York Times (buried deep in the second to last paragraph):
About four in 10 of the programs could not help everyone who approached them, the survey found, and 12 percent said the demand for help far exceeded their capacity to provide it. Nine of 10 programs said clients had already returned to them with post-enrollment problems.
These post-enrollment problems were significant -- 54 percent of programs heard from people who didn’t receive their insurance cards; 37 percent from those who felt they “picked the wrong plan and want[ed] to change;” and 37 percent from those with providers outside of their network. Other challenges included unaffordable deductibles and other costs (35 percent of programs fielded this concern); claim denials and other claim issues (21 percent); no coverage of specific prescriptions (20 percent); and other uncovered health services (15 percent). Even 16 percent of programs had clients whose coverage was terminated.
In quite the understatement, Kaiser warned in its conclusion, “Such problems, if not addressed, could prompt some consumers to drop coverage.”
Some other key findings:
- Thirty percent of the programs had no "prior experience helping consumers."
- A total of 89 percent of those questioned encountered clients who couldn’t find easily accessible answers on the marketplace websites.
- “Explaining ACA requirements to consumers was most difficult for one in four Assister Programs,” according to Kaiser.
- Some states did not give assisters access to marketplace data to check on applications status; 30 percent of programs “did not know the enrollment outcome for a majority of their clients.”
10:05 AM, Jul 15, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
In March 2010, Obamacare was about to be voted upon by the House of Representatives, and the Democrats were in the process of deciding whether to ignore public opinion at their peril. At that time, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that Obamacare would cost $938 billion over a decade and would reduce the number of uninsured people by 19 million as of 2014 (with a reduction of 1 million prior to 2014 and 18 million in 2014 alone). Unimpressed, the American people overwhelmingly opposed the intrusive overhaul — with 20 of 21 polls taken that month showing it to be unpopular, most of them by double digits. The Democrats willfully passed Obamacare anyway and lost 63 House seats that November.
Even the sign in button is broken.7:01 AM, Jul 3, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Colorado's 9News reviews its state's Obamacare exchange and finds that it's "clunky, counterintuitive, and confusing." The site was built with a $179 million grant from the federal government, but even the sign in button doesn't work.
2:14 PM, Jul 1, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that the Obama administration has violated federal law in its implementation of Obamacare. Specifically, it has violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a law passed (almost unanimously) twenty years ago by a Democratic House and Senate and signed into law by Democratic President Bill Clinton. Adam White provides a nice overview and analysis of the ruling. I just wanted to highlight a few aspects of it.
In Case of 'Last Minute Delays or Issues'12:08 PM, Jun 25, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
In June 2013, even before the launch of Healthcare.gov, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded a contract to Hewlett-Packard to replace Verizon's Terremark subsidiary as host for the Obamacare website and related Data Services Hub (DSH).
10:05 AM, Jun 24, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
In January. And this time, presumably, there will be no extension, which has been the administration’s preferred tool in dealing with the more onerous provisions of the Affordable Care Act. There have been some 21 such extensions and perhaps the White House will again come up with a way. But for now, as Andhya Somashekhar of the Washington Post reports:
9:12 AM, Jun 24, 2014 • By PETE HEGSETH
Forty-four years after the legendary May 1970 Life magazine cover story first exposed the disgusting and shameful mistreatment of our nation’s Vietnam-era veterans in government medical facilities, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is once again in desperate need of reform. Courageous whistleblowers have exposed systemic corruption and exposed falsified records, secret waiting lists, and delayed care — representing yet another scandalous and unconscionable neglect of our nation’s veterans.
11:15 AM, Jun 9, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Among the arguments in support of the Affordable Care Act was that unless there was something close to universal insurance, the nation’s emergency rooms would be flooded with people needing care.
11:45 AM, Jun 6, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Two stories about the problems at the Veterans Affairs. Both come with numbers, if not faces, attached.
6:09 PM, Jun 4, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The shakedown problems with the Affordable Care Act were supposed to be behind us and it was going to be smooth sailing from now on. People would, we were told, first become accustomed to this new way of doing things and, then, learn to love it.
8:14 AM, Jun 4, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Before President Obama took office, the federal government left Americans free to buy only those products or services they chose to buy. Under Obamacare, however, that has changed. For the first time in our nation’s 200-plus-year history, the federal government now compels private American citizens to buy a product or service of the government’s choosing — namely, Obamacare-compliant health insurance — merely as a condition of living in the United States. The question is, did this unprecedented level of coercion fuel enrollment in the Obamacare exchanges? Recent polling suggests that it did.
10:56 AM, May 27, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
It appears that in the age of Obamacare, no health care plan is safe. Not even one covering California farm workers and named after Robert F.
7:45 AM, May 19, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
President Obama has painted a bleak portrait of cooperation in Washington in several recent speeches, charging that Republicans say "no to every proposal that we know could make a difference in the lives of hardworking Americans," and
12:46 PM, May 13, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The Affordable Care Act is, evidently, still a work in progress, though it has long since been “the law of the land,” and made available (more or less) via a website to a confused and disgruntled public. There have been many tweaks, modifications, waivers, and exemptions since then. Too many, it sometimes seems, for the average citizen to follow. Which, in fact, may be the intention.