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3/16/2014 6:00:00 AM
Public on Obamacare: Huh? What?
Choosing the right plan
• Don't buy on price alone. Look closely at the providers and hospitals within a plan.

• Some plans offer a select number of doctors and hospitals within a particular region with a lower premium cost.

• Understand your health care needs. Are you frequently in need of prescription medication or regular physician visits, or are you expecting to undergo a medical procedure or have a baby in the next year?


Kim Steele
Miner Staff Reporter


KINGMAN - A new Kaiser Health Tracking Poll shows that confusion and a lack of awareness about the deadline to sign up for the Affordable Care Act and how to enroll in its exchanges continue among the nation's uninsured.

The poll, issued in February by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, showed that about 75 percent of those who reported being uninsured in February were unaware that the deadline to sign up for coverage and avoid paying a penalty is March 31. And nearly two-thirds said they know only a little or nothing at all about the ACA's health care marketplaces.

That's not good news for President Obama's administration and ACA advocacy groups, which are hoping to boost sign-ups in the final days of open enrollment, especially among people 18 to 34 years old. Younger enrollees are crucial to the ACA's success because they are thought to be healthier and less expensive, offsetting costs incurred by older, sicker enrollees. Next year's premiums could jump if too many high-cost people enroll.

Nationwide, more than 4.2 million people have signed up for insurance on the ACA exchanges this year. In Arizona, 58,000 residents have picked insurance plans under the new law in the first five months of open enrollment. The figures are below the number of people projected by this time and they don't reflect how many people have actually made a premium payment. Arizona was projected to have signed up about 84,000 people by now.

The lack of information about the ACA among the uninsured isn't surprising, said Jeff Stelnik, vice president of strategy, marketing and sales for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona. People have not been quick to embrace the marketplace and in many cases have been discouraged already by their shopping experience, said Stelnik.

"Because the health care reform law has experienced some challenges in its introduction, from the web issues to renewal changes, these issues have made it difficult for people to understand what is already a complex topic," said Stelnik. "And while community organizations, insurers and leadership across the state are working tirelessly to spread the word, there's still a lot of education to be done."

It's important for the uninsured to understand the importance of purchasing a plan by the March 31 deadline, said Stelnik. Once it passes, people will be locked out of the marketplace until November unless they experience a qualifying event, such as a change in marital status, birth of a child or the loss of a job. And they will face penalties for failing to enroll.

"Assistance is the key to educating consumers," said Stelnik. "Working with a trusted, knowledgeable advisor is the most effective way to help people navigate their health insurance options."

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit agency focusing on major health care issues facing the U.S., as well as the nation's role in global health policy.



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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, March 28, 2014
Article comment by: Edward Tomchin

Another thought on that same theme. I think human society is tired, weary in many ways. After all, we just completed a hundred years that was nearly wall-to-wall war, the longest and coldest being the most harmful.

It's a possibility that the weariness that comes from a hundred years of fighting, of death and destruction, would also at times resemble a societal PTSD if you will. A lot of what's going on in the western nations certainly shows symptoms of it.

But then with the peak of excitement that is the change encompassing us, breakthroughs can be had. We adapted to the changes of the age of enlightenment and the industrial revolution. I can't see anything from stopping it this time either. I'm not alone in this confidence. There are some very respected minds in the world that talk of the huge change in human society that is upon us. We've just seen the first ripples our big bang caused quite a few billion years ago. We can see forward that far if we try.


Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Article comment by: Edward Tomchin

To: "Moderately Independent"

Re: "... it will happen but not necessarily in my lifetime but hopefully within my daughter's!"

I think you may be pleasantly surprised in the very near future. I grant that right now the idea of people getting together to achieve good for all may seem a pipe dream. Many believe we are going down the tubes in a headlong rush, which is attributable to the times at hand. I refer to that ancient Asian curse: "May you live in times of great change," because we are immersed in such times and have been for more than a quarter century.

Human society is undergoing what may be the greatest change in all our history. Technologically, medically and scientifically, our knowledge of the universe is growing leaps and bounds daily and scaring the hell out of people in the process. People don't like change and rapid change brings the aggressive and fearful attitudes we see everywhere.

But our species, human beings, are winners. We will survive and overcome what seems daunting and relentless. After all, we survived our own best efforts to destroy ourselves last century. Now all we have to deal with are a few pikers such as Kim, Putin, Assad and the Ayatollah.


Posted: Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Article comment by: Moderately Independent

@ Edward

To paraphrase Jamie Farr who played Klinger on the "MASH" tv show "if I had all the answers, I'd run for God".

If this country would ever have some type of real National health care for all that is of some single payer or socialistic type (such as Medicare and Medicaid to a certain extent) will require an enormous amount of cooperation at so many levels that it may require an event that affects just about every American alive (think of WW II and the strides in social justice and programs made in the 50's and 60's, as well as the growing middle class and opportunities available at that time after the war). Basically the country came together as ONE and put aside differences (mostly) for the benefit of every American and we enjoyed prosperity TOGETHER whether you were rich, middle class or even poor to some extent...or waiting until this younger generation, many of whom seem to have a better grasp on world and current affairs that some of we old folks didn't have when we were their age, take the ball and run with it. I suspect it will happen but not necessarily in my lifetime but hopefully within my daughter's!


Posted: Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Article comment by: Edward Tomchin

To "Moderately Independent" and "If Republicans Destroy Obamacare, We'll Push Medicare for All":

It's nice to see two rational minds posting in the majority on these boards. Hope to see more of both of you. I've a question to put to you. I'd like to know your take on removing health insurance from the hands of employers, institutions and other "group" plans and making it completely individual. I'm particuarly in favor of reliving employers of the power they have over their employees through their offering and administration of their health insurance.

Then as an ancillary measure create regulations that would ensure everyone proper medical care and fair handling of claims by insurance companies, the latter being most important. Some oversight of the medical communities would be in order as well.

What think you both?


Posted: Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Article comment by: If Republicans Destroy Obamacare, We'll Push Medicare for All

I"m insured through my employer but support national health insurance.

US figures compared to the rest of the world demand action.
* infant mortality rate 29th
* 42nd in life expectancy (behind Greece, France)
* according to a CDC 1997 report overall firearm-related death rate among U.S. children younger than 15 years of age is nearly 12 times higher than among children in 25 other industrialized countries COMBINED

Our president worked hard to satisfy the Republicans & ended up with a program that keeps private insurance companies. When Sen. Lindsey Graham & other Republicans stabbed him in the back promising to work with him in private talks then opposing his efforts at critical times, the Democrats should have dumped that compromised plan & proposed eliminating the age requirement for medicare. Medicare gets favorable marks from seniors. There's no reason it shouldn't be opened up to younger citizens.

One note of praise for Moderately Independent - good for you to take on these wackos. I"ve seen reports where people claim they have tried the webpage and the prices are too high or they can't keep their doctor or a slew of other charges when examined are fraudulent. M.I.has proven there are unAmericans wanting to sabotage the ACA which is an honest good step.


Posted: Thursday, March 20, 2014
Article comment by: Moderately Independent

Uncle Anson answer number 2

Yes you certainly do have a choice and if you are able to afford it you may choose to go on a private marketplace and choose to buy a Cadillac policy...and pay a penaly for that luxury. Taking the car analogy one step further it's kind of like spending 6 or 7 figures on a exotic luxury or sports car and having to pay a lux or gas guzzler penalty.

In either case I'm not really keen on the added penalties but for those who may afford these luxuries they certainly make the choice to have them if they want them...nobody forced them, did they?

And as for having a choice between the three tiers offered by the ACA or in the Private marketplace I still don't see what you don't understand. The health insurance business is a competitive one with many players and in the great scheme of things brought about by American capitalism the health insurance companies offer many Choices and Payment options in order to attract customers for their services so they may survive and make a profit. What's wrong with that?


Posted: Thursday, March 20, 2014
Article comment by: Moderately Independent

Uncle Anson, answer number 1:

And you would take it wrong...let me explain it to you. First of all I do not belong to or am registered with any political party therefore my voting status is Independent and I have been registered that way for a great many years. Secondly I try to look at all sides of an issue so I can make a most informed decision which is a trait that is shared by many if not most American voters whether they be Republican, Democrat, Independent or otherwise.

Most Americans would love to see our governments on all levels, fed, state, local get back to working properly again and for that to happen it will require people working together and even compromising somewhat in order to get things done for the betterment of the entire country. I believe Moderate representatives from all sides are the ones who can accomplish this feat as they tend to look at all sides of an issue.
I also believe that the biggest cause of government dysfunction is the very vocal minority of extremists on the far left and far right who revel in talking points and cause gridlock. I could continue but running long here!



Posted: Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Article comment by: Uncle Anson

MI
Moderately Independent. Let me ask you one question. What does moderately independent mean? I take it to mean mostly dependent.

Giving people a choice? How silly. You mean that if I can afford more then I have better health care? What if I can afford a Cadillac.plan? I pay a penalty for that. Why? Where is your choice excuse now? How silly the choice excuse.


Posted: Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Article comment by: Moderately Independent

@ Too Rich

The bronze policy that you quoted for $281.00/mo. less your $51.00 subsidy...is that an individual policy or family policy?

The reason I ask is that when I was searching for a policy for my daughter I didn't see a single bronze policy for much more than $100.00/mo. and most were cheaper and gold policies were running in the $230.00 range. We settled on a Silver that is $178.00/mo. and that is without any subsidy.

I understand everyone's situation is different but something doesn't ring right here and perhaps you may contact an agent to assist you with this problem...I'd be more than happy to give the KDM the name and number of mine if you're interested.


Posted: Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Article comment by: Too Rich for My Blood

I shopped on the marketplace only to find out I will get $51.00 per month towards my insurance, Wow, I can by the crappiest level (bronze) for $230.00 per month after the $51.00 government subsidy. It also has a $5000.00 deductible. So my choice is buy insurance I can't afford and then not be able to pay to see a doctor or pay to get my prescriptions, because I'm paying $230.00 per month or skip the insurance, pay the fine and still be able to see my doctor and pay form my prescriptions. Thanks for nothing Obummer

Posted: Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Article comment by: Moderately Independent

...The health insurance being offered on the ACA website and state websites is still being issued by PRIVATE insurance companies and not the government. Your question is as silly as asking GM why they sell Chevrolets and Cadillacs instead of just a "one size fits all" car. It's called giving people a choice of which product they desire for a given amount they want to spend...hope I didn't make that to complicated for you.

There is no "mandate" of 6 mil, 7 mil or any other mil. If you had been keeping up with this issue you would know that these figures were the PROJECTIONS by the CBO of how many Americans would sign up by March 31. The number was reduced by the CBO partly because of the botched rollout of the healthcare website...a problem that cannot and is not being denied by anybody....


Posted: Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Article comment by: Moderately Independent

...Yes there are roughly 315 million people in the US, but you must consider that the majority of these Americans already have health insurance. The number of uninsured and inappropriately insured is roughly 48 million and with over 5 mil now signed up the percentage of newly insured goes up to over 10% and growing.

I hope you have a better understanding now...no need to thank me.


Posted: Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Article comment by: M e

Wait until the federal government intrudes in to your personal life through the health care, then you won't be so happy to signup. I know you are saying "I have nothing to hide" but the famous saying:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.


Posted: Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Article comment by: Lake Mead City

5 million have signed up so far. 5 million. An amazing number of our countrymen friends and family. How can you people be on the side of Medical Corporations that bankrupt families that have to spend every penny they have to get their children the life saving medical care they need to live. Unbelievable, the amount cruelty and complete lack of compassion you all have while at the same time evoking the name of Jesus Christ, waving your flags and collecting your Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid. A sad lot.

Posted: Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Article comment by: Just A. Citizen

"Fraudulent way of counting" is a massive understatement and a method by which this administration uses to show how rosy the unemployment rate is. Just spin the numbers.
Most folks are looking at enrollment data now.
Heads up, there's a shell game going on.
Officials want a younger crowd to sign up now,
en masse but a younger crowd doesn't need the treatment the elderly do. Just wait and see when treatment rationing for the elderly begins. I wonder if the liberal media will sweep those issues under the rug with the Benghazi debacle.
I can't help compare this ACA elephant to a new television series. With viewership #s comparable to ACA enrollment #s we should see about a two episode run.


Posted: Monday, March 17, 2014
Article comment by: Uncle Anson

Would someone please clarify a few things for me.
1. Are the 4.9 or so million signed up all people who were previously uninsured or does this number count people that were more or less forced into the ACA by employers dropping insurance etc.
2. Why are there 3 levels of ACA? Doesn't that enable what so many are against and that's inequality? Why not one size fits all?
3. Why has the mandate of March 31 number been lowered from 7 million to now 6 million or did I miss understand that the mandate needs 70,000 people per day until the end of the month to get to the new number?
4. And last but certainly not least if 5 million are signed up and the population of the US is 315 million isn't that less than 1.6%.


Posted: Monday, March 17, 2014
Article comment by: 90% Lazy and Stupid, Rest of Us At Risk

Reason for the "confusion" is health insurance is a complicated purchase and today's Americans are lazy and stupid. The president won't tell you that. Boehner won't tell you that. No one will tell you that but you know it's true! The only way we're going to get these I'd-rather-be-watching-NHRA types insured is when they show up in emergency rooms with junior's skull cracked open. Mr.Jeff Stelnik, vice president of strategy, marketing and sales for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona should be a shame to have his name and his employer's name attached to the fact the public is unaware. His company, like all the PRIVATE INSURANCE COMPANIES have millions of new customers, yet have not invested one red cent into public awareness campaigns. Or if what he claims is true, we would be more aware.

And those radio & television companies benefiting from our airways? I guess there isn't much public service space since Honey BooBoo or Anti-Obamacare ads crowd the airways. Radio - Rush ads monopolize those. Yes Americans are stupid - that's why advertisers repeat those 800# 3 or 4 times. How to sign up needs to beat like a drum. There's been a few articles in the Miner unfortunately they're usually negative in tone - but at least they are getting the word Obamacare known.


Posted: Monday, March 17, 2014
Article comment by: Linda Athens

Will fail:

The funny thing, Geo H. W. Bush said one sentence "No new taxes" and he was thrown out even though the Dem Congress didn't do their part either but that part was ignored by the people.

As you say, it is harder to find obama saying something that isn't a lie and yet liberals still kiss the ground he walks on.

Adding Health and Human Resources and obama's "changes" to obamacare, the bill itself is now 7 ft tall. Not to worry, we all know what is in that 7 ft as everyone has read it. Or maybe not.

They have put out that 5 million have signed up. EXCEPT, Sebelius says they don't KNOW how many have paid and with the internet signups, there is no way to pay since they haven't built the "pay" end yet.

We also know as of this week, only one of every ten was NOT thrown off their own policy first so actually instead of ten signups, it is only ONE.

I think Americans have simply tuned obama out. He is so overwhelming, he's like the flu. You just have to go thru it and do the best you can until you see the light on the other side. Like his foreign policy. Take a hard look and it is SOOO horrible, better you don't take that hard look.


Posted: Monday, March 17, 2014
Article comment by: Not an accountant

@ V Stokes

I'm not an accountant but I use one for my taxes. The way they get adjusted gross income is by taking your gross income and subtracting health care premiums, IRA contributions…deductions like that. Take a look at your tax return - you'll see the section.

Straight math - if you were to get a policy at a lower rate, plus a subsidy - that would undoubtedly lower your total health care deductions and raise your adjusted gross income. So yes, it does affect the bottom line.

I bumped my (AGI) number up for my application, just to be safe, and will still get a much better policy. In fact, it's already in effect. It works.

If you're currently buying your own insurance, look into it. Contrary to what the naysayers on this board think, the ACA isn't going away.


Posted: Monday, March 17, 2014
Article comment by: V Stokes

"that amount will be reflected on your next year's tax return."

Could someone clarify that? Will they be counting it as income? Just curious, as I already have a qualified plan as a retired Veteran.


Posted: Monday, March 17, 2014
Article comment by: Obamacare Will Fail

It will fail under its own weight. Simply is not sustainable. Like some are saying now "All this to insure 4 million people?". You can't keep your doctor and it is definitely not affordable. Just more liberal spin by calling it the Affordable Health Care Act.

Obama said it was going to insure 46 million people many many times and of course that was just another of his many lies. In fact it would be much simpler to count the number of times he has told the truth than to count his lies.

When I can think of one time he has told the truth I will get back to you. I'm drawing a blank right now....


Posted: Monday, March 17, 2014
Article comment by: Just Sayin

The reason no one is signing up for this is because we all know how bad it is. Does the word Ponzi scheme mean anything to you.

Besides now that Obama has pretty much made everyone that can't afford it exempt who needs it.


Posted: Monday, March 17, 2014
Article comment by: The ACA is a good thing

I signed up and it's easy. This is a great program, particularly for the self-insured who up to this point have only been able to afford catastrophic coverage due to the high cost of premiums. Based on my experience, here's what you should know -

1. The application is two parts, which can be completed separately from from another. The first is your personal - you will need to know your adjusted gross income from your tax form. This figure will determine your subsidy. You can elect to take all, part, or none of the subsidy - that amount will be reflected on your next year's tax return. The second part is where you can compare multiple policies (side by side) and then submit your application for a plan. After you apply healthcare.gov will send you email prompts about the application, but there is no further direct link between that site, and your insurance provider. You need to deal with the insurance company directly at this point.

2. Local health care providers are as much in the dark from lack of information as consumers. If you need to know that your provider is part of a plan, talk to the insurance company before you submit your application. They will have that information.

The healthcare.gov site may have had problems in the beginning, but it worked flawlessly for me.


Posted: Monday, March 17, 2014
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

“The 4.2 million number is bogus and has been shot down by many reputable companies that have run the numbers.”

“Reputable companies?” Like FAUX News, WND, and their ilk. Funny stuff Linda.

”This illegal plan to take over a third of our economy is the biggest mess and fraud in America's history.”

Nope, not illegal, remember the Supreme Court said it is not illegal.

”It is going to have to be dismantled completely at some point for there is no way for anyone to live with it as is.”

Yeah, you righties said the same thing about Social Security and Medicare – both of which you love and thrive on. Kinda funny, isn’t it?

”Incidentally, this fraudulent way of counting is also being done with illegals being deported.

Hey! That’s wrong too! You are the funniest and most bitter person I have ever seen who will go to all ends to post bogus trash. Why do you do that?

But, please, keep it up. Every silly post you makes chases people away from the GOP’ers and TEA-you knows.


Posted: Sunday, March 16, 2014
Article comment by: Linda Athens

Kim:

The 4.2 million number is bogus and has been shot down by many reputable companies that have run the numbers.

After taking out people who already had insurance that they are counting, those who haven't paid for the obamacare insurance (hard to find a way to do so on line since that part of it didn't get built I understand), they report there are legitimately only 425,000 who have signed up nationwide.

That is pathetic but not surprising with the 28 or so changes obama/Sebelius have illegally made, the confusion on and off the website, etc.

This illegal plan to take over a third of our economy is the biggest mess and fraud in America's history.

It is going to have to be dismantled completely at some point for there is no way for anyone to live with it as is.

Incidentally, this fraudulent way of counting is also being done with illegals being deported.

I have seen libs on here state how many illegals the obama admin has sent back, far more than prior administrations.

Not so for obama counts those simply turned back at the border, a huge number. Previous admins didn't even count them since they never really got to enter at all. They counted ones already here that were deported.

More obama smoke and mirrors. No surprise at all.




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