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Curmudgeon's Corner

cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner

They're kidding. Right? Another Extension?

U.S., Political, Quality of Life, Healthcare

You could not have made this up if you’d tried.  After flat-out indications that March 31st was the last day for the extended enrollments in Obamacare, the rules are relaxed so that you can still enroll for a couple of weeks if you tell the government that you’ve tried to enroll but couldn’t.

Our government is apparently much more trusting of its citizenry in this instance, than any other since it said outright that it wouldn’t need any real proof that you tried; your word, in this case, is good enough.  You probably heard there were going to be fines administered for late enrollees, but obviously that isn’t true given this further delay.

A further delay was said by a Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman to be out-of-the question.  “In fact, we don’t actually have the statutory authority to extend the open enrollment period in 2014.”  Both Secretary Sebelius and the President told us there would be no extension.

Is there anyone, even staunch supporters of this President and Democrats in general, that would lay claim that this was driven by something other than voter angst that threatens to get some Democratic officeholders fired in the coming elections?

This President has set his own rules for many different things.  His accomplices in the Senate and the House Democrats have rolled over every time he scratched their tummies.  He is, so far, impervious to any flashback.  Where oh where is the press?

The enrollment numbers are obviously weak and this extra two weeks on top of the extra 60 days already declared to be available are indications that this is true.  The White House and Secretary Sebelius have tried to distance themselves from the original prediction of 7 million enrollees.

Insurance company executives who, in many cases, were secretly very excited to see ObamaCare take its first breath because it would give insurers more premium  money, are now scared to death over adverse selection.  One can be assured that those who have significant health conditions have enrolled.  The young invincibles have been less-than-excited about the plans available since they are healthy and don’t need to be paying premiums.  Once the enrollment has actually stopped, assuming that will be the case, the dust will begin to settle.

We will begin to better understand the nature of the group that has initially enrolled.  Actually, we probably won’t get that information in a forthright manner but we’ll be able to extract the truth by looking at the obfuscation that follows. 

Remember how we can’t get a real idea of the number of enrolled people who have actually paid their premiums?  That number is some 80% of the total enrollees at best.

If we aren’t given an idea of the average age of the whole pool of enrollees that will evidence that the enrollees are skewing old.  If we can’t get a good idea of males and females as each is a percent of enrollees, there is a good chance that the truth is that females skew higher as a percentage of all enrollees.

Remember that insurers have been given the word they must make the premium requests for 2015 known to the government by April 1st.  This extension means they will not have the actual enrollment information and will have little idea of what they might find in their respective groups of enrollees so far as disease state, age mix, etc.  That indicates that the initial rate filings for 2015 might well skew higher simply because the insurers are working in the dark.

This is among the most mismanaged roll-outs of a government program I can recall.  That does not bode well for anyone whether you are in the ObamaCare plan or not.  There are so many unanswerable questions at the moment and we’re not likely to get any answers other than those the Administration wants us to get.

Given this Administration's track record for openness and honesty, we may not have any idea of how this roll-out really went anytime in 2014 and maybe not even by well into 2015.  If that happens, you can be certain this was a disaster, and one for which you’ll be paying for as long as you live.

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