Trying to Salvage ObamaCare, HHS Forces Insurers to Offer Free Coverage

By:  Michael Tennant
12/17/2013
       
Trying to Salvage ObamaCare, HHS Forces Insurers to Offer Free Coverage

The Obama administration recently announced that it would essentially be forcing insurance companies to give free coverage to people who have signed up for coverage on an exchange but not yet paid.

Just how badly is ObamaCare going? Badly enough that the Obama administration is trying to force insurance companies to cover people for free — and then to turn insurers who don’t comply into fall guys for any future bad news.

The problem for the administration is that ObamaCare has forced the cancellation of millions of Americans’ health plans — the ones the president said they could keep if they were happy with them — while making it next to impossible for them to sign up for new plans through Healthcare.gov. According to the Wall Street Journal, an “estimated four million to five and a half million people … had their individual health plans liquidated as ObamaCare-noncompliant,” but just over 1.1 million have signed up for coverage under ObamaCare: 364,682 through state and federal insurance exchanges and 803,077 through Medicaid.

As The New American reported, however, of the nearly 365,000 who have selected plans on exchanges, the administration isn’t saying how many have actually paid for, and therefore attained, coverage. That may be, in part, because no one really knows. Writing for Forbes, Avik Roy cited insurance-industry insiders’ estimates that only five to 15 percent of individuals who have selected plans have actually paid their first month’s premiums — a result of exchange systems that have sent the wrong data to insurers or, as in the case of Healthcare.gov, still lack the ability to transmit payments to insurers.

The administration is also being tight-lipped about the types of individuals enrolling on the exchanges, suggesting that most of the people signing up for coverage are those with pre-existing conditions that will be costly to treat, not the young and healthy whose premiums are needed to offset the cost of this coverage.

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