Obamacare First Impression Brings 'Confusion' To Westchester

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Obamacare coverage is open for early enrollment and will go into effective beginning Jan. 1, 2014. Photo Credit: Flickr

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – Early enrollment for President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act became available Tuesday across the country, and Westchester County residents will have to "hunt" for new information regarding the coverage and how it affects them.

Local insurance brokers, tax advisors, attorneys, employers and employees all have to determine how it impacts their current plans moving forward before the act, referred to as “Obamacare,” goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2014. 

Gary Forbes of Forbes Insurance in Katonah said Obamacare was “a whole different animal” and a “nightmare for insurance agencies to figure out.”

“Having experience in this for a number of years, I knowing what the problems are (in the insurance industry),” he said. “And I’m not so sure this (Obamacare) fixes them. Right now we’re advising our clients to stand pat and see how this shakes out.”

Forbes said New Yorkers already had a lot of the insurance features Obamacare offers.

“Obamacare brings new features into the mix for people who couldn’t afford them before, and you don’t find a lot of that here,” he said. “The success of this new plan will depend on young people enrolling in it – and I’m not sure I see that happening.”

Forbes Insurance partner Christopher Radding said one of the purposes of Obamacare – to create competition and lower prices – has yet to be seen in Westchester County because the only company offering its exchange is United Heatlh Care. He also said the amount of new information being brought into the industry is creating a “tremendous amount of labor” for those being relied on to explain the changes to clients.

“A lot of training is required. It’s definitely labor intensive,” he said. “I think it will create opportunities for the people who are ready to dive into it and put the time in to understand it. Those who aren’t willing to do that will get left behind. It’s a game changer.”

If first impressions are any indication, Obamacare will continue to be a controversial topic. The homepage for information and early enrollment, http://www.HealthBenefitExchange.ny.gov, was riddled by heavy amounts of traffic early Tuesday. State officials said over 2 million hits in the site’s first two hours were the cause for technical difficulties and the issues has since been sorted out.

However, Radding said the website is a concern, whether it’s running smoothly or not.

“The website they put out isn’t very good,” he said. “You have to hunt for the information you’re looking for. It’s a ton of added stress on brokers and small business owners who need to spend hours researching this stuff.”

Obamacare has been a polarizing matter ever since it was passed on March 23, 2010. Public concerns include whether premium costs will be higher or lower compared with customers’ existing policies, and whether or not confusion regarding mandatory changes to the U.S. health care system gets sorted out. Here are some policies of the new health insurance’s coverage:

  • Under the Affordable Care Act, if your plan covers children, you can now add or keep your children on your health insurance policy until they turn 26 years old.
  •  You and your family may be eligible for some important preventive services - which can help you avoid illness and improve your health - at no cost to you.
  •  The Affordable Care Act includes benefits to make your Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) more affordable.
  • Under the Affordable Care Act, health plans cannot limit or deny benefits or deny coverage for a child younger than 19 simply because the child has a "pre-existing condition" - that is, a health problem that developed before the child applied to join the plan.

Radding said that while it was too early to declare the plan as a success or failure, Obamacare’s first day did nothing to quiet its doubters.

“We’ll see what happens,” Radding said. “There is a lot of confusion right now, and not a lot of answers.”

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Comments (12)

Buchanan_Res:

Do some research before praising commiecare http://washington.cbslocal.com/2013/09/09/cancer-patients-bill-soars-as-obamacare-pre-existing-condition-program-falters/

https://www.ijreview.com/2013/06/56502-obamacare-already-rationing-pre-existing-conditions-coverage/

https://www.pcip.gov/

PR Integrity:

This about sums things up : http://www.mercurynews.com/nation-world/ci_24248486/obamacares-winners-and-losers-bay-area

sayitsnotso:

The emperor truly has no clothes, but he can lead his sheep to the slaughter, they just blindly follow.

NinaB:

Yeah, what exactly is a 'regular American' anyway? Please explain.

Errickson:

I don't know what website you looked at, or if you are completely website illiterate.It took me about 5 minutes to sign up as an individual. I was given my choices of plans, gold, silver, bronze, (that's choices a.b. and c., wow, real confusing) how they would differ, what tax credit I would receive if I chose plan a, b, or c. I chose the silver plan, chose my insurance, and it's costing me $120 a month. Done! Gosh, that was hard. Not.

Oh, and I love how people say how health insurance "doesn't work in other countries" and have never lived out of the country to have any experience of it. They just mimic what their representatives tell them, because they MUST know, right? After, all thousands of Canadians run here for their cancer treatments because of their AWFUL health care. Bull.

I lived in Italy for 17 years. I could go to the dentist when I wanted (and it wasn't the dark alley, or a gulag - but state of the art equipment, sorry to bust your nightmare), go to any doctor I wanted, any time I wanted. The longest time I waited without and appointment? 3 hours.

The U.S. ranks just behind El Salvador in Health Care. How proud the Tea Party and its sheeple must be of such an accomplishment.

Welcome to the 21st Century, America.

Don't believe the smoke and mirrors, such as from the author above. It's here, it's real, and it's easy. I did it.

MarioVB:

?

mdelaney:

Bravo for the Affordable Care Act! And Bravo for President Obama!
Millions of hard-working Americans who could never afford health insurance before will now be able to join the ranks of those who can sleep at night not having to worry that getting sick will mean losing their homes and poverty.

No more "pre-existing condition" restrictions that caused the suffering and deaths of thousands of unfortunate Americans. We have taken a step in the humane direction that most of the rest of the developed world has enjoyed for decades.

And now parents can keep our children on our health policies until age 26 - so important in this down economy.

Thank you, President Obama! Thank you for caring about regular Americans and making their quality of life so much better. It should be called the "Health Security" law - it will save the lives of tens of thousands of Americans into the future. And it WILL survive into the future, despite the pathetic bully antics of right-wing extremists.

jmalichio:

Ms. Delaney's post is the perfect example of those in this country who see the socialist dream within reach. It's a dream world, not the real world of those who seek to live in a republic. Healthcare is NOT a right and having the U.S. government in charge here will leave us with yet another unmitigated federal disaster --just like the other entitlement programs that exist in this country. How are things going in the England, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Spain, etc.? Any ideas, Ms. D? We have Medicaid and Medicare for those who need it. People are not dying in the streets. Let's get real. 'Children' who are 26? Ridiculous. Nanny state psychobabble.
This is an economy killer, let there be no doubt. It already has been! Look at what corporations and especially small businesses are already doing with respect to their employees and "part-timers." Do your research, ma'am. Those of us who deal in the real world (and healthcare industry --like me) actually know what is in this bill and what will really happen. Here is the key question: why are many of Obama's biggest supporters begging for and receiving an EXEMPTION from this legislation if it's so great? Please answer that for us, Ms. Delaney.
Kids are not sitting around the dinner table with their parents encouraging them to go into medicine anymore. It is going to be a BIG problem (with respect to future MD shortages). And Obamacare is the final nail in that coffin. The trial lawyers and medical school (and undergrad) costs have destroyed the rest.
But, hey... what do I know? I wasn't smart enough to have a bust of Big Bird on my lawn during the last election cycle.

MarioVB:

Get a hold of yourself, M Delaney. The 'drama' -- oh my, how it makes me want to vomit. One day soon, the USA will correct itself from your failure of a leader. Hopefully before we plummet further into mediocrity. This healthcare system does not work in other countries where it has been implemented, and will not work here. I say this from experience. Hopefully you or your family will never have to wait 18 months for an MRI, or an X-ray.
Please answer this - What is your definition a 'regular American'?? Is one American more regular than another? Unbelievable

cjmesq:

This will be a lesson for the young people who are paying attention as to what tyranny looks like. A soft tyranny...but a tyranny nonetheless.

fedupinny:

Did anyone expect anything else?

Buchanan_Res:

Have you seen the prices?!...nothing affordable about it,just government lies and BS

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