With just over two months until the October 1st start of open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act, online exchange problems are leaving many states are woefully under-prepared.
The exchanges are key components of Obamacare. They are online marketplaces where Americans can learn what federal medical programs (such as Medicaid) that they are eligible for, compare prices from private insurance companies, and purchase insurance plans.
However, only two states (Massachusetts and Utah) have completed their exchanges, while 15 other states are still working. However, as John C. Goodman notes, all of these states have developed exchanges on their own, meaning that they may not be completely up to par with the requirements of the federal government. The news for the remaining 33 states is anything but good. These 33 have opted to make the federal government create their exchanges, but online exchange problems mean that it could be after October 1st until these are ready.
Goodman lists several reasons why the online exchanges are taking so long to be developed. Cost, government inefficiency, and the sheer magnitude of the endeavor are all taking a toll on what is one of Obamacare’s key features.
But regardless of the reasons for the delays, there will be some side effects that are transferred onto consumers.
Some experts have predicted that more than one million people will opt not to purchase insurance through Obamacare because of the delays. The delays have caused many insurance companies to be kept from partnering with the government, leading to the fears of less enrollment. And a lack of enrollees means one thing for those who do enroll: higher premiums, which are exactly what Obamacare was supposed to fix.
Secondly, the delay has caused many doctors to become increasingly skeptical about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act. A study by LocumTenems.com showed that not only are doctors losing faith in Obamacare, but they are also very confused by it. More confusion over how the healthcare law works means more time spent trying to decipher the law and less time spent treating patients. The online exchange delays only promise to make that worse.
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