Are you confused about Obamacare? Sick of listening to spin when your life is on the line? We thought so. It is still difficult to obtain a concise, clear picture on what is happening to America's health care. We gather below a few critical snippets of information which point to more impending disaster for the individually insured.
First there is the failure of the website. This should be no surprise that the financial back end contract was a no bid award to BlueCross BlueShield via their subsidiary.
Invisible to consumers are what Chao called the "back office systems." Those include accounting and payment systems to send premiums to insurers and transfer funds to insurers that attract more than their share of customers with high medical costs.
The no-bid contract awarded to Novitas includes these systems. Novitas is a subsidiary of Diversified Service Options, which is wholly-owned by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida.
The costs and timelines for these websites are astounding and goes to show how the U.S. government contract system is major bloatware to the U.S. taxpayer. Over and over America pays and gets little in return when it comes to tech contracts. So far, 24 states have been paid $4.4 billion to set up websites. The Federal site has already racked up a huge bill and is expected to cost $634 million. Now reports are surfacing 40% of the site hasn't even been implemented. As it stands, government has paid $714 per person needed to sign up for on-line health care exchange websites. Websites that do not actually work.
Up to 40 percent of the technology needed to run the new Obamacare health insurance marketplace has not yet been built and will not be ready when insurance companies start sending in bills when coverage begins January 1.
That's not the 500 million lines of bloatware code America has been told about on the healthcare.gov site, this is completely missing software. Forty percent of a missing design is vaporware. Vaporware is a term used for fraudulent startups who bilk inventors by claiming they are making a product which doesn't actually exist. Indeed experts looking into healthcare.gov are recommending the entire site be scuttled and rebuilt from scratch. Costs to $634 million and this is the end result, bloatware and vaporware. Oregon's site is so bad, not one person has been able to sign up with it. Oracle, yet another company loaded with H-1B foreign guest workers, has 44 major functions on the site not working at all.
The tech situation is not surprising considering government officials were involved in technical design decisions. A key critical component in any website design is the database. Surprise, government officials insisted on using a proprietary noSQL database from MarkLogic, a privately held company. This is an astounding revelation for scalability in enterprise sites is a key feature and going with an unproven database is just asking for trouble.
Horror stories on the costs of insurance are pouring in. Obamacare is supposed to give subsidies for anyone making less than $45,900 a year, or 138% to 400% above the poverty line. Yet CNN found many will not receive a subsidy, simply because the insurance premium is lower than expected. In other words, the subsidy calculator by itself is a complex absurdity maze.
To calculate premium subsidies, the government sets a maximum amount that low-income customers will have to pay for insurance as a percentage of their income. That cap is then subtracted from the cost of a mid-level insurance plan in the individual's region, and the difference is their subsidy. The insurance companies knock that amount off the price of premiums before the customer pays. But if the baseline plan is cheap enough, the formula is thrown off and the subsidy is zero.
Subsidies are additionally based on geographical location as well as age. Now think about geographical location in a semi-rural area and health insurance being based on that region. First, people are more mobile, at least for working and second, one can have no competent doctors for miles in semi-rural areas and people need to drive to a city 100 miles away. Guess what, Obamacare is trying to define where someone can obtain healthcare to very small geographical areas as implemented by most insurance companies. This is horrific and creates captive customers, almost micro-monopolies where one's health is captured by what address one resides at.
In cities, children's hospitals and even the Mayo Clinic are not covered by the new policies.
Many of the people who buy health plans on the exchanges have fewer hospitals and doctors to choose from than those with coverage through their employers. A number of the nation’s top hospitals — including the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, and children’s hospitals in Seattle, Houston and St. Louis — are cut out of most plans sold on the exchange. In most cases, the decision was about the cost of care. In Seattle, the region’s predominant insurer, Premera Blue Cross, decided not to include the children’s hospital as an in-network provider except in cases where the service sought cannot be obtained anywhere else.
Generally speaking policies are severely restricting the physicians and facilities one can go to. While this is especially bad news for people in semi-rural areas where to find a decent Doctor often requires a two hour drive, there are severe limitations on choice in large cities as well. The limits to geographical areas for health care severely impacts rural areas, where there are more self-employed and people needing individual health insurance policies, yet almost half of the physicians and facilities in large cities are also not covered under individual policies being offered.
The costs are on average 41% higher than before Obamacare for premiums. Pundits will talk about the terrible coverage allowed under previous plans yet Obamacare allows for 40% copays under the so called bronze plans while premiums are much higher. The specific cost and policy details are still so hidden and complex some in the press are offering an interactive map as well as a subsidy calculators to help navigate even a portion of the costs. Yet obtaining the actual contract, along with the coverage details is still next to impossible to come by. Generally speaking people finally obtaining even the insurance premiums quotes with out the policy details are having major sticker shock. The bronze level plan 60% coverage is simply horrible in terms of deductibles and copays. Overall, health insurance deductibles are on average 27% higher with Obamacare.
The average prices for the most popular plans are twice as high in the most expensive states as those with the lowest average prices,
PPOs, the most popular type of health care plan, carry monthly premiums that range from an average of $819 a month in the most expensive state to $437 in the least expensive. Plans on the federal and state exchanges are grouped into four categories that cover 60% to 90% of out-of-pocket costs.
While all of this is going on for individuals, hospital and medical bills are outrageous with nothing forcing the health care industry to publish prices and be actually competitive. In fact secret pricing on health care costs is one of the main reasons America pays three times more in health care than any other industrialized nation.
When Obamacare passed, most knew true health care reform just died and the entire bill was a gift to the for profit health care business. Some are pointing out Obama's rollback to allow older policies as yet another blank check for insurance companies:
The text of the law is clear, and it places no limits on how much this program may pay insurers. It gives, in essence, a blank check to the secretary of health and human services to make payments to insurers to cover their losses.
Politicians are still spinning this disaster by claiming a surge of enrollments, around 200,000 out of the needed 7 million, have occurred, about 3% of the people needed. Political football with people's health continues as the Obamcare open enrollment has been pushed back by a month. This puts Obamacare open enrollment after the 2014 elections, a point not missed by the GOP.
Republican lawmakers are pushing back hard against the Obama administration's decision to delay next year's open enrollment season for health coverage under ObamaCare until after the 2014 midterm elections.
The Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday it would allow consumers to start signing up for coverage under ObamaCare on Nov. 15, 2014, a month later than originally scheduled.
Pushing back dates, backpedaling on existing policy temporary continuances still does little for the self-employed. The individual is still getting churned and burned in Obamacare political swampland. While politicians spin and play political football, real people with real health care needs are being turned inside out and upside down trying to obtain and retain coverage along with competent care. The extension of existing policies for a year does little beyond buying time. After all such crappy individual health insurance with their swiss cheese coverage and to the moon deductibles was a major reason for health care reform in the first place. Now instead of healing the sick, America is being buried under a sea of spin. The costs, the geographical limitations and choice of provider limitations the ACA brings is being buried and thus not seeing the public outrage light of day. People are going to die from all of this and once again we have lobbyists, the for profit health care industry and their political puppets to thank.