February 22, 2013

Obamacares: How easy will the exchanges be to use?

Sam Smith - Nobody seems to be talking about this, but if you look into the healthcare exchanges a bit, what you find is a pretty complex set of choices. Given the way that the average consumer buys things, it's not likely that picking the right healthcare plan is going to be that much more sophisticated. Especially for those who have a hard time reading or adding.  Still, the DC government, for example, cheerfully informs us that:

The Exchanges are being compared to websites such as Travelocity or Orbitz, but they’ll be set up for you to buy health insurance rather than book travel and hotels.

Starting January 1, 2014, those who want to buy private health insurance for themselves and their families will be able to use these state-run exchanges to find better deals. Instead of searching individually for an insurer, you’ll be able to use the exchange to choose a private plan from a menu of options. Plans cannot refuse to sell you a policy and must comply with the new consumer protections.

Insurance plans will vary—from generous to modest—but each plan must include basic, comprehensive medical coverage and prescription drug benefits. As with the online travel services, you’ll be able to compare the plans’ costs and benefits head-to-head online. What policies will cost is not yet known, but there will be annual limits on how much you have to spend on your deductible and co-pays. Subsidies or tax credits will be available if you have a low or moderate income.
Now this is the sort of stuff, the MBAs who designed the program would enjoy doing. But the bulk of Americans may look at  and say, "WTF?"  And it's a question that needs to be answered.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The **absolute first step** needed to fix the American health insurance and health care system is

to grant EQUAL TAX TREATMENT to individual health insurance purchases. SUBSIDIES for individual

and family health insurnace purchases on the exchanges are not the same as EQUAL TAX TREATMENT.

SUBSIDIES just *maintain* our already fragmented and cherrypicked health insurance risk pools.

Granting EQUAL TAX TREATMENT to all health insurance purchases will neutralize the tax advantage

given to employer purchased health insurance (which skims off the most profitable health risks for

wall street investor owned health insurance companies) and lead to an abandonment of employer

purchased health insurnace. Granting EQUAL TAX TREATMENT will help consolidate health risk pools,

further competition, and squeeze profiteering out of private health insurance system. Eventually

Wall street will walk away from a "too competitive" health insurance marketplace and give up the

business to government run single payer Medicare For All. See accompanying text to this video: