Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Affordable Care Act Roll-Out

Demand for affordable health care was even greater than expected as millions of Americans overloaded the new health care exchanges the day they opened.  Federal officials said more than 2.8 million visitors between midnight and late afternoon yesterday contributed to long wait times for access to  the website they are running for 36 states.  Officials in New York state, which is running its own insurance site, said an unanticipated surge of visitors in the first hours left the marketplace only partially functional. California said its website fielded five million page views by 3 p.m. local time.  Despite the computer glitches and over capacity usage, there's no denying people all over the country are desperate for health insurance. That's the good news. The bad news is, can the government handle the operation?  

Operating the ACA is a massive undertaking. A lot of folks will look at all the initial problems and blame the government. They'll argue it proves once again how inefficient the government is and they should not be running what needs to remain exclusively a private business. The reality is that even if the private health insurance industry had reformed its system on its own, there would be similar problems with the initial roll-out. And what business runs 100% smoothly on its first day of operation?

The most important thing to take away from the last couple of days is that people do want better coverage AND to maintain some patience with the early implementation. Let's remember that we are only in an enrollment period for coverage that does not take effect until January 1, 2014.  There's no early sign up discount or added benefits either. So, you can take your time with looking into your options. You have until December 15 to enroll for a January 1,2014 effective date.   However, you can enroll as late as March 31, 2014 at which time the open enrollment period ends for this year..

And for those who still have questions on how exactly the new system works, here's a simple to follow animated guide to the Affordable Care Act from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

Stay Informed. Stay Positive. Stay Healthy.
- The Patient's Advocate 
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