Remember how everyone’s been talking about that unseemly document, the one that was well over 1,000 pages and included all the details about Obamacare? The details that no single person could fully articulate? These were the details that had us all saving money somewhere, supposedly.
In case you haven’t heard, the cat is out of the bag. It now looks like that maze of text might not even matter, since federal officials secretly passed a ruling that would grant a one-year grace period to some insurers, allowing them to set higher limits, or no limit at all on some costs, in 2014. According to The New York Times, “The grace period has been outlined on the Labor Department’s Web site since February, but was obscured in a maze of legal and bureaucratic language that went largely unnoticed.”
What does this mean for all of us?
Well for one, now a consumer may get stuck with up to $6,350 in out-of-pocket expenses for seeing a doctor or going to a hospital, and then might rack up an additional $6,350 in prescription drug charges.
This is a complex issue, and a serious one at that. We’re all extremely busy. But, in order to help you out, we’ve gained some insight from trusted online news outlets and excerpted an important segment from each. Feel free to click through the links to read the complete articles and get a broader perspective on this grave announcement.
The New York Times
As one of the explanations for the grace period, it’s reported, “In many cases, the companies have separate computer systems that cannot communicate with one another.” That’s a hoot since it’s the federal government that’s been incentivizing the creation of EHR products that are bought to meet government criteria instead of bought because of their legitimate utility. READ MORE
The Washington Post
This section focuses more on Congressional backlash. According to a spokeswoman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, she sees a big, juicy target for 2014, saying,“ObamaCare is experiencing one train wreck after another and the administration’s latest delay further illustrates that. The law is more unpopular now than ever as the real-world implications of higher costs, lower quality of care, government bureaucracy and being forced to change doctors hits workers and families.” READ MORE
“The decision raises concerns that, at least for next year, the health care law will not save people as much money as President Obama claimed. On the campaign trail, Obama has touted caps on out-of-pocket costs as a selling point.” Hmmm, and that’s after we just argued that direct care could save $130 billion versus Obamacare’s $9 billion. Now, we’re curious if that savings figure is factually inaccurate since, well, some people might find themselves unprotected and paying MORE money than before. READ MORE
Nancy Hughes, of the National Health Council, a patient advocacy group, said, “For people with complex chronic conditions, this decision contradicts the out-of-pocket provisions the patient community fought for in the ACA. It will be a major financial burden that will most certainly impact patient access to quality health care.”
The article adds, “The one-year grace period for compliance of some plans will allow insurers more time to finalize computer systems to track their beneficiaries’ spending in order to comply with the law.” This according to officials and industry representatives. Hmmm, so basically we have a country full of shoddy EMRs and now someone with cancer might go from being covered with a set deductible, to a plan with either a higher deductible, or no limit on out-of-pocket expenses? READ MORE
If you’ve found any more insight into this emerging issue, let us know in the comment section. And remember, one of the advantages of direct care is sidestepping the red tape, and protecting ourselves from these types of government “intervention.”