Tags: Healthcare Reform | Obamacare | Covered | California | Consumers

Obamacare Traps California Consumers

Friday, 26 December 2014 11:04 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Covered California, the state enforcer for Obamacare and all its benefits, is looking more and more like the healthcare equivalent of the Roach Motel: Consumers can check in, but they don’t check out.
Columnist Emily Bazar at the Center for Health Reporting has discovered a disturbing number of California consumers can’t cancel their health insurance. Now these aren’t the mooches who don’t pay for insurance and then get “free” care by cluttering up emergency rooms.
These are solid citizens that have aged out of the regular market. Here’s the situation: Obamacare is such a complicated, expensive, and distasteful experience that government uses bribes to keep taxpayers from rising in revolt.
In California these are insurance credits paid to the companies to reduce monthly premiums for individuals. But when people turn 65 they can move into the Medicare system and don’t need Covered California or the subsidy.
Except Covered California, like the Roach Motel, won’t let them leave. Bazar writes of one couple that has been trying to cancel since August and still keeps getting a bill. This is a big problem because come tax time they will be liable for subsidies they never used.
As one woman told Bazar, “I’m in a Catch-22. Covered California says they canceled the plan, and Kaiser says to call Covered California. My big fear is the tax credits. They’re saying people can owe hundreds or thousands.”
Bazar researched the problem and found “Covered California controls eligibility and cancellation of its health plans, which means plans must wait for direction from the agency before terminating coverage.”
That’s quite a deal for Covered California. Imagine what changing cable providers would be like if you had to have Comcast’s permission to do so! Here, instead of a two-year contract, it’s a lifetime arrangement courtesy of the benevolent people at Big Government.
“Douglas Veale, a Sacramento insurance agent, also was told the problem is widespread when he contacted Covered California on behalf of a client who recently turned 65. They have been trying to cancel for more than a month, both online and by phone, but ‘terminating coverage with Covered California has proven impossible,’ Veale says.”
Naturally Covered California blames the computer. It’s a “programming problem” but isn’t it remarkable how so many of these software errors work to the advantage of the government? The harder it is to cancel a policy the longer you are listed as buyer and contributing to the total number of those with insurance, proving how vital and successful Obamacare is.
In short, you are more important as a statistic than as a human.
The advice for Californians determined to cancel is to “keep track of whom you speak with when you call both Covered California and your insurer. Get names and ask for reference numbers. In short, create a paper trail in case you’re asked to repay tax credits that you don’t believe you owe.”
And you can file a complaint with Covered California or contact consumer advocates.
Besides, all this difficulty may have a silver lining. Since you’ve just retired attempting to cancel your Covered California policy can serve as your first hobby. At first glance gardening may sound more attractive than pushing paper, but keep in mind it’s indoor work and you won’t be subject to California’s draconian water rationing laws, unless you have to wash a paper cut.
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan. He is president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation and chairman of the League of American Voters. Mike is an in-demand speaker with Premiere. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.

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Covered California, the state enforcer for Obamacare and all its benefits, is looking more and more like the healthcare equivalent of the Roach Motel: Consumers can check in, but they don’t check out.
Obamacare, Covered, California, Consumers
Friday, 26 December 2014 11:04 AM
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