Obamacare Logistical Apocalypse Nowhere To Be Seen Yet
By Jeffrey Yong | Huffington Post | Posted: 01/03/2014 5:42 pm EST
“The first days of Obamacare enrollment were a mess. The first days of Obamacare benefits, on the other hand, went quietly. The health care industry expects that to change soon.
More than 2 million people signed up for insurance under the new law by year's end. Those people have yet to flood pharmacies, hospitals and community health centers surveyed by The Huffington Post.
The White House and health care companies are nevertheless bracing for a flood as soon as people who lacked health insurance coverage begin to take advantage of their new access to health care.
"At this point, we've seen only moderate activity," Jim Cohn, a spokesman for the Deerfield, Ill.-based pharmacy chain Walgreens, wrote in an email to HuffPost. "We are anticipating a surge in activity beginning next week, following the holiday period."
The White House views January, the first month of new coverage, as a critical moment for President Barack Obama's signature domestic policy achievement.
The Obama administration has put in place measures to ease the transition for both those new to the insurance market and those switching from old policies, which have been discontinued at year's end, into new plans purchased via the exchange marketplaces.
HealthCare.gov, the federal portal to the health insurance exchanges in 36 states, and most of the state-run insurance marketplaces, have mostly recovered from major technological failures that hampered signups during October and November. Still, some of those who enrolled before the December deadlines for January coverage may find their benefits aren't in place. The enrollment period runs until March 31.
Health insurance companies are scrambling to process the hundreds of thousands of last-minute enrollments. Many customers haven't received invoices, while others who have paid don't yet have insurance cards.
Health care providers, led by drugstores, also are taking steps to smooth over problems. Major retail chains such as Walgreens, Walmart, CVS, Rite Aid and Kroger are offering patients whose enrollments are in doubt supplies of prescription drugs for up to 30 days. Smaller, independent pharmacies also are assisting patients who run into trouble confirming their health insurance coverage.
The emergency department at Los Angeles County University of Southern California Medical Center was busy Thursday, but no more than ordinary, spokesman Frank Toscano said. "So far, it's business as usual."
If enrollment in the exchanges continues to rise - the Congressional Budget Office predicted 7 million people would sign up for private insurance and 9 million for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program - patients without a medical home today will go looking for one. "We're expecting new patients," Morse said. ‘People are going to have access to health insurance and they're going to need a primary care provider.’ "
IMO: In the initial uncertainty of Obamacare’s entry into the American mainstream of medical care for every American, many people will soon have the quality medical care we should have been getting all along with the high priced private medical plans we previously had.
As Obamacare swings into action, Americans will be pleased to see the quality and breadth of benefits they will receive by joining the first universal quality medical plan for America; one that should have been in place decades ago but for the greed of private profit-making companies that paid off Congress in their lust for profit and power over the medical field in America.