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Challenges remain for Obamacare Consumers

Posted on November 14, 2012 by admin

Many Americans still recall the glitches associated with the launch of HealthCare.gov last year. This year the Obama administration wants that to be a distant memory. The Administration has put in place many new previsions to rectify the troubled website for the upcoming enrollment period of Obamacare on November 15th. With these glitches fixed many consumers are now encountering a new problem, the rising costs of premiums.

HealthCare.gov was basically unusable last year so in the months and weeks leading up to open enrollment for this year the Obama administration has taken many precautions so they do not encounter a repeat performance of last year’s troubled website. Thus, trying not to give Republicans any more ammunition to the bill many of them oppose. So this year the website is much improved and consumers will find it easier to navigate but might be surprised to see increased costs and some unexpected demands for subsidies thus causing some consumers to get double billed if they choose to change their health care coverage for the upcoming year.

According to many analysts and insurers these potential problems of double billing and demands for subsidies will most likely affect those individuals who were already enrolled in Obamacare this past year. These problems could affect the Affordable Care Act since many Republicans already opposed to the bill and this would see this as another snafu and to try and repeal the law, especially with Republicans taking over the majority in the Senate come this January.

As most individuals know the open enrollment period November 15th through February 15th will allow qualified individuals to get health insurance and many times those premiums will be subsidized federally. At this point premiums appear to be stable but questions arise as to how the system will handle almost 6 million individuals who are expected to re-enroll in Obamacare. Many analysts predict that the re-enrolling of millions of individuals and many new enrollees will strain the system and this prediction could be the cause of this week’s forecast of a reduced enrollment.

Over 4 million individuals might simply choose to renew their policies automatically by December 15th but many of those consumers might end up with increased costs as many insurers raise the premiums of existing policies.

Many consumers may look and enroll for cheaper plans but once they enroll in the new plan they may get billed twice, once for the new plan and once for the old plan. At this point the government does not have an automated system to help notify insurance companies of any new changes. Therefore some policy holders may not only get billed twice but many who receive subsidies to help pay for their health insurance coverage could be asked to return a portion of those funds received if their income increased during the year and they did not notify the government. Many may be faced with returning subsidy funds when renewing their policies this year.