Winston-Salem Journal: Winston-Salem News, Sports, Entertainment, Politics, Classifieds

August 28, 2014

Insurers can no longer reject customers with expensive medical conditions thanks to the health care overhaul. But consumer advocates warn that companies are still using wiggle room to discourage the sickest – and costliest – patients from enrolling.

Some insurers are excluding well-known cancer centers from the list of providers they cover under a plan; requiring patients to make large, initial payments for HIV medications; or delaying participation in public insurance exchanges created by the overhaul.

Advocates and industry insiders say these practices may dissuade the neediest from signing up and make it likelier that the customers these insurers do serve will be healthier — and less expensive.

via Winston-Salem Journal: Winston-Salem News, Sports, Entertainment, Politics, Classifieds.


ObamaCare Makes It Safer Than Ever Not To Purchase Health Insurance — And That’s A Bad Thing (A Response To Michael Hiltzik)

May 6, 2014

In recent opeds for the Los Angeles Register and the Orange County Register, I explain how ObamaCare’s requirement that insurers cover people with pre-existing conditions at the same price as healthy people dramatically reduces the risks associated with not having health insurance, and therefore creates a perverse incentive for people to drop their coverage and wait until they get sick to re-enroll. I expected most Americans would not know about this feature of ObamaCare, and that many of the law’s supporters would not appreciate my drawing attention to it. I did not expect a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist like Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik to go to such great lengths to shoot the messenger. Hiltzik has devoted two columns to calling me “disreputable,” “clueless,” “obtuse,” and “irresponsible,” and my argument “lame,” “dopy,” “ghoulish,” “asinine” and “blindingly obtuse.” Well.

via ObamaCare Makes It Safer Than Ever Not To Purchase Health Insurance — And That’s A Bad Thing (A Response To Michael Hiltzik).


Obamacare’s high-risk pools are closing for real this time

April 18, 2014

The PCIP program was originally supposed to sunset at the end of December 2013, but it was extended until January as HealthCare.gov struggled. Then it was extended until March. Then it was extended until April 30.

That seems to be it for the extensions, though. Tanya Case, who heads a national association of high-risk pools predating the Affordable Care Act, said a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services official told her the program will end on April 30. Case said her organization doesn’t plan to request another extension. A spokesman for CMS said he didn’t have new information.

via Obamacare’s high-risk pools are closing for real this time.


Deadline Looms for ‘High Risk’ Enrollees – WSJ.com

March 14, 2014

People have to sign up by the end of this week for coverage that takes effect April 1. On the eve of that deadline, thousands remain still on the program’s books, according to people familiar with the situation. The exact number of people isn’t known, but the administration has said that about 22,300 were still enrolled through the end of January.

Health-plan experts have speculated that some of the lingering enrollees have secured private coverage and have stopped paying premiums for the high-risk program or are about to, but there could been a lag in the federal government getting that information.

The Obama administration has delayed or changed a number of provisions in the health law because of technical problems in implementing it. The high-risk program puts the federal government in a particularly tough position because it has taken on responsibility for a group of vulnerable people and could face criticism if it were seen to be dumping them.

via Deadline Looms for ‘High Risk’ Enrollees – WSJ.com.


More Obamacare Deadlines Delayed | TIME.com

December 12, 2013

Federally-run high-risk pools funded by the ACA that provide coverage to some 85,000 Americans with pre-existing conditions will continue operating until Jan. 31, 2014. They were scheduled to shut down on Dec. 31, but consumer advocates had warned that some enrollees were struggling to navigate the federal enrollment website HealthCare.gov and risked having a gap in coverage in January.

via More Obamacare Deadlines Delayed | TIME.com.


Covering Pre-Existing Conditions in a Market-Driven Health System | e21 – Economic Policies for the 21st Century

June 27, 2013

There’s nothing unsound or contrary to conservative principles about federal funding of high-risk pools. Indeed, a realistic plan to solve the problem of covering persons with pre-existing conditions — without mandates and drastic and intrusive regulations — will necessarily entail some federal funding of such pools. Done right, the end result won’t be “Obamacare-lite” but a market-driven health system in which the federal government’s role is dramatically scaled back, not expanded.

via Covering Pre-Existing Conditions in a Market-Driven Health System | e21 – Economic Policies for the 21st Century.


GOP fast tracks bill to fortify ObamaCare’s high-risk pools – The Hill’s Healthwatch

April 16, 2013

House Republicans are moving quickly on a new bill to strengthen Obamacare’s temporary insurance plan for people with pre-existing conditions.

The Helping Sick Americans Now Act (H.R. 1549) was introduced late Monday and is scheduled for a mark-up Wednesday in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The measure seeks to shore up the Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plan (PCIP), a struggling program designed to offer insurance to vulnerable patients while the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented.

via GOP fast tracks bill to fortify ObamaCare’s high-risk pools – The Hill’s Healthwatch.