April 3, 2014
Jimmy Fallon, host of the Tonight Show on NBC, joked about Obamacare during his monologue Wednesday night and said “if you think it was hard getting into the program, just try getting out.” While it is easy to joke about the problems Obamacare has faced, the MacIver Institute highlighted this exact problem in a column published Wednesday morning.
See the clip from the Tonight Show below (00:00-01:03):
Find out how a Wisconsin family is having problems “getting out” of Obamacare below:
How Accurate are the Obamacare Enrollment Numbers?
BadgerCare Reforms Help Wisconsinites Get Health Coverage
Original Post at 10:07AM on April 2, 2014
by James Wigderson
Special Guest Perspective for the MacIver Institute
March 31st was the deadline for enrolling in Obamacare. But as we have learned, there are deadlines and there are deadlines. As the Heritage Foundation’s blog The Foundry is reporting, there is always tomorrow.
But what if you signed up for Obamacare and then discovered you didn’t need it? It turns out that Obamacare is a lot like the Hotel California. You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.
As the MacIver Institute reported on March 18th, one in five of the Obamacare applicants in Wisconsin have not paid their premiums. In the pre-Obamacare world, we called those people, “the uninsured.” Today, they’re counted in the Obamacare enrollment numbers.
I spoke with one of those people who signed up for Obamacare and is not paying the premium. Mina (not her real name) signed up for Obamacare at the beginning of the year. She is recently widowed and has four children. She was on Badgercare, but she was told that she had to sign up for Obamacare because of the total household Social Security income made her ineligible for the state Medicaid program.
Signing up wasn’t easy, of course. Mina gave all of her personal information (something she was not comfortable with) to the insurance representative for a plan that qualified under Obamacare. The representative also helped her fill out the necessary information on the Obamacare website. Unfortunately, it was President’s Day, so the navigator was only able to take her information and not complete the application process. He had to call her back the next day.
Mina eventually was enrolled. The plan she had to pick meant she could no longer use her family’s ProHealth Care doctors in Waukesha, or be covered at the ProHealth Care hospital. Instead, they would need to use Aurora, and use the Aurora hospital in Oconomowoc. “There are no plans that conform with Obamacare that allow me to keep my doctor,” she said.
Worse, under Obamacare, even with the subsidy her premium costs were going to go up and her deductibles and copays were going up. That’s a hard pill to swallow for a single mother of four.
But what really got her was the disincentive to work. If she started bringing home just $500 per month in income, her premium costs would double because she would lose the subsidy, making the Affordable Care Act insurance really unaffordable. “I would have lost the low copay and out of pocket, so it wouldn’t have paid for me to work at all.”
Then Mina got good news. Thanks to the changes in BadgerCare eligibility rules under Governor Scott Walker, as of April 1st Mina’s family would qualify for BadgerCare with no premium cost.
Mina tried calling the insurance company to cancel the Obamacare. “They said we don’t do unenrollment. We only sign people up. You have to call the Affordable Health Care enrollment management.”
Mina tried calling them. “I have never gotten a person,” she told me. “I only get a message saying leave us your information. Leave us a message. So, I left a message that I would like to unenroll. I have other coverage. I never heard back from them. I left them another message. I never heard back from them. So finally I decided I want to tell them that I want to send my payment in, that I want to send them money. Maybe they’ll call me back. They still didn’t call back. I have never heard back from them.”
Meanwhile, the insurance company keeps sending her bills for insurance she isn’t going to use and nobody knows how to cancel. “Now I’m getting bills telling me I have to pay my premium,” Mina said. “They just keep coming. Well, I never pay. And then I got last week a packet in the mail welcoming me as a new member and explaining to me what doctors I can go to and what benefits I have.”
“So they’re treating me [like] I currently have [the insurance] even though I never paid for it,” she said.
In addition to that confusion, Mina is also concerned that her personal information is still on the Obamacare website. “And as far as I know I’m being counted as one of the people who signed up for it.”
Mina has taken to just throwing all the notices in a basket to be ignored. She’s happy with her BadgerCare coverage, and she gets to see her regular doctor.
Even though Mina is counted under Obamacare’s enrollment.