SAN FRANCISCO (press release)—Obamacare continues to evolve with new restrictions and regulations. Even the current language would confuse Nancy Pelosi who famously proclaimed the American people needed to pass the law and then read it. The changes keep on coming and those announced this week change the terrain of signing up and/or renewing even more complicated.
The latest twist in the controversial healthcare law has the Obama administration considering a regulation that would allow the government to automatically switch many people’s healthcare insurance exchange plans to a different plan.
The current, or latest wording of the law, states most exchange enrollees who do not revisit the exchange website are automatically re-enrolled in their current plans when their coverage expires (although a few states don’t allow automatic renewal). It is the latest alteration that has now reached over 40 changes since its inception in 2010. But is it legal?
According to the Obama administration, the “proposed” regulation from the Department of Health and Human Services would provide exchange enrollees two choices. They can signal they would like to re-enroll in their current plan or give the government the power to shift them into a cheaper plan if their current plan’s premiums rise. Medical experts have no doubt this will bring a sizable increase to all Obamacare enrollees even for “cheaper” plans.
The state exchanges can “offer” these choices in 2016, with the federally run exchanges to follow in 2017.
The second choice which allows the government to choose an Obamacare participants plan is a a long way from 2010 when Obamacare was in its infancy. The government can now switch an enrollee’s plan. In other words, the government would be effectively choosing the enrollee’s insurance plan.
It can be safely said that this “suggested” change in the law is a far cry from the ‘if you like your plan you can keep it’ pledge,” notes the Cato Institute. The real catch is that many enrollees will pay more if they renew automatically. The participant comes out losing either way.
Average premiums will rise 9.5 percent according to the New York Times. In a poll by Gallup, 68 percent of respondents said they intend to renew their current plan.
The law has come a long way from the inception of Obamacare, The changes are not, nor will they ever be, enrollee friendly. The suggested new rules may reach a stone wall with the swearing in of the new Republican-majority Congress, not to mention the coming Supreme Court rulings on the validity of large portions of the law that now exist.
Thus far, no comment from Obamacare’s most enthusiastic supporter, Rep. Nancy Pelosi. One must wonder what her private opinion is on the dozens of changes to the law since 2010.