White House Tells Ocare Insurers To Let Consumers Change Plans

Do you remember the old Simpsons episode where Troy McClure said “there’s The Truth, and then “the truth””? With Obamacare, there’s Deadlines, and then “deadlines”

(Washington Post) The Obama administration has quietly reworked rules and computer code for HealthCare.gov to try to stem an outpouring of discontent by some Americans who have discovered that the health plans they bought do not include their old doctors or allow them to add new babies or spouses.

Under changes that have not been disclosed to the public, the government will temporarily allow consumers who have gotten coverage through the new online insurance marketplace to switch health plans to a limited degree.

In a memo distributed Thursday night to insurers, federal health officials said that people may pick a different health plan before the end of March if they are dissatisfied with the one they chose, but only if they stay with the same insurer and generally the same level of coverage. The 14-page memo, obtained by The Washington Post, also says people will be given more freedom and a longer opportunity to get a new health plan if they can prove that HealthCare.gov, the Web site for the new marketplace, displayed inaccurate information about the benefits that a health plan offers.

The Most Transparent Administration Evah! Good luck proving that healthcare.fail displayed inaccurate information.

There’s even now a button that allows people to report life changes. Unsurprisingly, it is “not working reliably”. Nor is it actually live. They’re still working on it.

On the bright side, there’s finally a way to cancel a plan. And “looping”, where consumers where shuttled back and forth between the “private” insurance plans and Medicaid, and being told they were eligible for neither, has been fixed. These are all things that should have been in place before it was launched on October 1st.

Specifically, the new policy says consumers may make changes before March 31, the end of an open enrollment period that began in October, if they want to “move to a plan with a more inclusive provider network” or fit within “other isolated circumstances” according to the memo, which does not define what the other circumstances might be. People who switch must stay with the same insurer and tier of coverage.

So, if they’re forced to stay with the same insurer and tier of coverage when switching before March 1st, exactly what changes can be made? In some cases, there is only one plan by that provider in a tier. Not always. For instance, in North Carolina, if you have a Bronze level plan on the Exchange through Blue Cross, there are 6 different plans with varying premiums and deductibles. But two other providers only offer one plan. But, do the providers change? For Blue Cross, when you do a medical facility/doctor search they only tell Blue Advantage and Blue Value. There doesn’t seem to be any increase in medical providers.

Regardless, this is yet another example of Obama unilaterally changing The Law. Should we know call it “the law”?

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