Obamacare and the Medicaid Monster

Be afraid. Be very afraid. Medicaid is coming to get you. You won’t see it coming until it’s too late.

Those of you lucky enough to have jobs and employer supplied health care coverage complacently think you have nothing to fear from Obamacare. You are wrong.

The hidden threat you face is beginning to show up in Department of Health and Human Services monthly reports on the Obamacare roll-out. The most current is the “HEALTH INSURANCE MARKETPLACE: JANUARY ENROLLMENT REPORT” released 1/13/2014 and covering the period from October 1, 2013 through December 28, 2013. The report is produced by the ASPE Office of Health Policy.

The January Obamacare Report

January’s 29-page monthly Obamacare report is chucked full of statistics galore.

For example, 2.2 million eligible Americans have selected an Obamacare plan… 20% selected a Bronze Plan; 60% Silver; 13% Gold; 7% Platinum and 1% in the hastily-offered new Catastrophic Plan.

Of those selections 6%  were <18 years old; 9% were 18-25; 15% were 26-34; 15% were 35-44; 22% were 45-54; 33% were 55-64 and 0% were 65 or older.

24% of the signups are between 18 and 34. Those are the healthy young people whose premiums are supposed to pay for elderly health care in order to make insurance costs affordable for everyone.
That’s the theory.

Between 10/1/2013 and 12/28/2013 the exchange web sites had 53.2 million visitors and Obamacare call centers took 11.3 million calls.

The stats are grouped and reported within two main categories:

  • SBM – State Based Markeplace
  • FFM – Federally Facilitated Marketplace

SBMs are the Obamacare exchanges run by individual states. FFMs are the Obamacare exchanges either supported or fully run by the federal government. Healthcare.gov is an FFM.

The Scary Stat

The stat to fear in the January report is:
79% selected a Marketplace plan with financial assistance

Nearly 8 out of ever 10 people who’ve signed up for healthcare so far under the Affordable Care Act are getting some sort of financial assistance.

If nearly 80% of young people in exchanges are getting financial assistance through Obamacare then how is that going to make health insurance affordable for all? Who pays for all that assistance??

Medicaid is the government health plan for the poor. Everyone agrees we need it and nobody wants it to go away. Medicaid pays their medical bills.

The CBO estimated that Obamacare will ultimately add +25 million Americans to the Medicaid rolls, but that was before states were allowed to opt-out by the Supreme Court. Half the states opted out.

So how many people are actually signing up for Medicaid?

Medicaid Gone Wild

The New York Times ran a feel-good story yesterday speaking to the Medicaid sign-up issue:
Law’s Expanded Medicaid Coverage Brings a Surge in Sign-Ups
– Sabrina Tavernise, New York Times, 1/20/2014

It explains the plight of Sharon Mills of Welch, West Virginia who now has health care through the “Affordable Care Act” and it’s expanded Medicaid program. It’s enough to make you feel good to be an American.

The dark side of the story, though, explains that West Virginia has had more than +75,000 sign-ups and “the strength of the demand has surprised officials”. Translated into dollar-spek that means state officials are worried sick about how they are going to pay for all those people when the feds leave town.

The NYT recognized the Medicaid phenomena in another early December story:
October Medicaid Applications Far Outpace Enrollment Through Exchanges
– Robert Pear, New York Times, 12/3/2013

Obamacare has awakened a sleeping giant. Apparently there are a lot of people eligible for Medicaid under the old rules who never signed up for it. Now that health care is mandated by law they are coming out of the woodwork.

That is why such a huge percentage of Obamacare signups through the exchanges are applying for federal assistance.

The number 3.9 million new Medicaid sign-ups through November has been bandied about recently. There is a controversy over using it in a claim that Obamacare has already provided health care for 6 million people who didn’t have it before.

Fully 6% of total Obamacare exchange signups are for children under 18. Most of them are probably being subsidized through CHIP, another Medicaid subsidized program.

Conclusions

Forget Obamacare’s lousy roll-out and staggering identity theft security concerns lurking within the exchange marketplace web sites. Those problems pale by comparison with Medicaid’s long-term hidden threat to your wallet.

Medicaid is an unfunded liability. That means it is an unbudgeted expense that we just pay as we go. No one really knows how much that will be anymore.

We are only just now beginning to feel Medicaid’s “Affordable Care Act” pinch. Medicaid sign-ups are exceeding expectations. The real bills start to roll in at the end of March when states submit their 1st quarter reimbursements for Medicaid expenses. The number will be bigger than expected. Each quarter after that will be bigger.

You, Mr/Ms Taxpayer, ultimate will have to pick of the tab for the unexpected surge in Medicaid sign-ups and expenses.

Be afraid. Be very afraid. Medicaid is coming to get you. You won’t see it coming until it’s too late.

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About azleader

Learning to see life more clearly... one image at a time!

Posted on Jan 21, 2014, in ACA, Affordable Care Act, economics, Economy, Government, Health Care, healthcare, Medicaid, news, Opinion, Politics, Thoughts. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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