Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Calling a Spade a Spade, Well, Almost

A rose by any other name is still a rose, but is a CEO really a CEO if he only has the title and
lacks autonomy?

Kevin Counihan, former CEO of the Connecticut Exchange (as in Obamacare "marketplace) is the newly crowned CEO for the federal health insurance marketplace (AKA Obamacare Exchange).

CEO in name only. His position is nothing more than an overseer for the Obamacare plantation and Marylin Tavenner is the real head honcho and Counihan's boss.

Larry Levitt from the Kaiser Foundation has a few suggestions for CEO Counihan.
Make sure the lights turn on. It would create enormous perception problems if there are technical glitches during open enrollment like those that plagued the program last fall, not to mention leaving consumers in the lurch. The top priority should be making sure that the website functions.

Obamacare watchers last year witnessed the Exchange come out of the gate like a 10 year old filly instead of a galloping 3 year old. The much heralded insurance exchange never worked as promised. Almost a year later the site is still broken. Some days you can log in, others you get a 404 message.

Almost  a billion dollars and it still isn't right.
Focus on getting people enrolled. More than 8 million people signed up for plans in the new marketplaces by the end of the open enrollment period this year (although the actual number of enrollees is likely slightly less than that because not everyone paid their first month’s premium).
The administration refuses to release numbers but some estimates put the fall off rate (those who failed to pay initial or subsequent premiums) as high as 30%.

We also don't know how many gained insurance when they didn't have coverage before but some peg that number in the 2 million range.

So let's call it a net insured of 5.5 million and perhaps 1.5 million did not have prior coverage. The previously uninsured may be less than that since there is anecdotal evidence that those who were not accustomed to paying premiums before may have slipped back into old habits.
Enrollment will undoubtedly ramp up as the law matures, but we should be careful not to treat the expectation that 13 million people will be covered in the health insurance marketplaces in 2015 as anything other than a good guess at this point.
Obamacare is more unpopular now than it was when it was rolled out. This begs the question, "Who in their right mind is expecting another 5 million enrollees when the 8 million figure didn't "stick"?

I would say the chances are good that Mr. Counihan might want to keep his resume' in good order. He might just need it by next spring.

blog comments powered by Disqus