Like a dreaded movie sequel, ObamaScare 2.0 “The Nightmare Continues” is back for a second open enrollment season.
Too scary to be released prior to the midterm elections, the ObamaScare horror show goes live Nov. 15. But unlike a Hollywood slasher flick, where the monsters are fake, the villain in this Washington, D.C., production could not be more real.
1. A Spooked Public
Obamacare is as unpopular as ever just 26 percent of adults support it, according to the latest AP poll. But the government still hopes to add some 6 million uninsured Americans to the exchanges and another 4 million to the Medicaid rolls this year.
The government has half as much time as last year to complete enrollment and must hope that its pleas to purchase expensive coverage don’t vanish in the madness of the holiday season, when families are already stretching their budgets.
2. Sticker Fright
President Obama famously promised, “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan.” That may be an expensive proposition for the 7.3 million folks who purchased coverage through the exchanges last year.
For the past few months, the administration has been reassuring people that they can auto-renew their policies. But automatic renewal could mean an automatic premium increase.
That’s because the federal exchange website HealthCare.gov price tag $2 billion and counting cannot automatically recalculate the premium subsidies for which many enrollees are eligible. The auto-renewal process simply assumes that an enrollee should get the same subsidy as last year.
With many exchange premiums rising and subsidies presumed to be the same, patients could experience sticker fright when they get their next monthly insurance bill.
The only way for current enrollees to ensure that they get the right subsidy is to essentially repeat last year’s enrollment process with all the technical frustration that entails.
3. Hacked to Pieces
According to insurance expert Bob Laszewski, “The HealthCare.gov backroom is not built yet a year and counting after it should have been.” No one knows how the beleaguered website will handle the millions of people who attempt to log on when enrollment begins. Last year’s debacle certainly doesn’t inspire confidence.
For those that do manage to log in, identity theft could be a significant concern. Federal auditors have highlighted numerous security issues with the website. And last July, hackers managed to breach the site, potentially compromising millions of Americans’ personal information, including Social Security numbers.
Get covered? More like “Get hacked!”
4. Invasion of the Plan Snatchers
Starting next month, tens of thousands of insurance policies will be cancelled for not adhering to all of Obamacare’s mandates. In Virginia alone, 250,000 Americans are expected to lose their plans.
This wave of cancellations won’t be the last. According to George Mason University’s Robert Graboyes, many plans in force now will fall just outside the law’s narrow definition of what constitutes acceptable coverage even if they provide more generous coverage than some plans that have Obamacare’s seal of approval. Insurers will ultimately have to cancel these arbitrarily non-compliant policies, too.
5. Hardship Horrors
Obamacare’s penalty for going without coverage will jump from $95 or 1 percent of income this year to $325 or 2 percent of income next year.
But only suckers will pay that penalty, as the Obama administration is handing out hardship exemptions like Halloween candy. Almost anyone can qualify.
The law offers 14 hardship exemptions, which include being a member of an Indian tribe, experiencing the recent death of a family member, or filing for bankruptcy. All require little, if any, documentation.
It even excuses people if their “individual insurance plan was cancelled and you believe other Marketplace plans are unaffordable.”
That’s right. Apparently, the Obama administration effectively admits that the law itself can constitute a hardship.
This fall, you can’t run. And you can’t hide. ObamaScare is coming to your neighborhood.