Friday, February 01, 2013

Ding Dong - Obamacare Calling

Next time your doorbell rings it may not be the Avon lady or Jehovah's Witnesses. It very well could be Obamacare peddlers.
Organizing for Action, the successor to President Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, and Enroll America, a group led by two former Obama staffers that features several insurance company bigwigs on its board, are planning to unleash the same grass-roots mobilization and sophisticated micro-targeting tactics seen in the 2012 campaign.
Instead of getting people to vote, they’re trying to get people to buy insurance.
If the coalition is successful, 30 million uninsured Americans will get health coverage and the now-unpopular law that Obama’s team pushed through Congress and defended at the Supreme Court could go down in history alongside lauded national institutions such as Medicare and Social Security.

What is questionable is, among other things, the legality of such an approach.
Most areas ban door to door solicitation unless you have a permit. We also have federal and state do not call lists.
Some states, Ohio being one of them, ban door to door solicitation for Medicare supplement plans (and possibly other forms of insurance as well).
Agents that are approved to offer Medicare Advantage plans are EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED from direct solicitation, either door to door or telephone. The Advantage plans are regulated by CMS and HHS.
And of course you must understand that ANY insurance product can only be applied for through a licensed agent.
 if large numbers of younger and healthier Americans don’t sign up for coverage this fall alongside the older and sicker ones, the whole thing won’t work.
The challenge is real: The White House has not been able to penetrate the confusion and skepticism about the law in the nearly three years since its passage. Numerous polls have shown that people still don’t know what’s in the law, or how it could benefit them. 
Young people, those under 30, typically do not buy insurance now and there is no reason to believe that will change under Obamacare.
The exception would be if coverage was free.
Even if 100% of the under 30 crowd signs on, the premiums generated by them is not enough to offset the claims of the older, sicker crowd.
Furthermore, carriers really don't want the highly subsidized crowd as policyholders. Anyone that has ever been to an "all you can eat" buffet knows you don't exactly attract the tri-athlete crowd and free or almost free health insurance will be the same.
On top of all the other challenges is, and always has been, where will DC get the money for the 18 million or so to be covered under Medicaid expansion plus a like number (or more) that should qualify for significant premium subsidies?
The PCIP concept was a good example of a good idea gone bad. The program has lost money in every situation in spite of the fact it failed to meet enrollment objectives. Since DC isn't accountable for anything, we may never know how many taxpayer dollars were pissed away on PCIP.
Obamacare is just another scheme that will leave the folks behind the concept twisting in the wind.

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