Thursday, November 12, 2015

Leaving money on the table - An Update

Almost two months ago, we reported on the (sad?) fact that over "2 million public exchange enrollees eligible for cost-sharing reductions are not receiving the subsides because they selected a non-qualifying plan"

This referred to the curious way in which certain plans are eligible not just for premium subsidies, but also with out-of-pocket expenses (deductibles and co-insurance). Now, this isn't necessarily a major problem: if you don't have (a lot of) claims, it really doesn't impact your bottom line.

But it turns out that folks are also leaving actual cash dollars on the table in the form of premium subsidies that would directly impact their wallets:

"[M]ore than 24 million people were eligible for ObamaCare tax credits last year. By March, only 41 percent of them had selected a plan on a government insurance exchange."

That's less than 10 million folks who even bothered to add them to their "cart;" it shouldn't surprise regular IB readers than only about a third of those folks actually pulled the enrollment trigger. For perspective, this means that out of 24 million eligibles only about 3 million actually signed up.

Now why is that?

Well, as usual, the rocket surgeons in DC have done a crappy job of getting the word out: "of the uninsured people who are probably eligible for tax credits but not enrolled, about half of them said that they had not heard of the tax credits." Nor had they clicked on over to the site (arguably a wise decision, that).

And who's to blame?

Here's a clue:

Over 6 years ago, Mike asked "Why has Medicaid failed to protect the poor?" He pointed out that (as of 2009) over two thirds of uninsured folks were likely eligible for Medicaid, but were not enrolled. This was (and continues to be) a failure of government, and it seems reasonable to conclude that it's the same dynamic (or lack thereof) that's leaving so many folks in the ACA subsidy dust.

Happy days, indeed.
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