NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

ObamaCare Glitch Number One: Verifying Eligibility

July 26, 2013

On Oct. 1, IT specialists will fire up one of the most technologically complex government websites in history. It's a website specially engineered to grant uninsured Americans access to a virtual market of affordable health insurance policies, says the Fiscal Times.

If all goes as planned, millions of people will be able to compare the premiums being offered by a handful of insurance providers in their states, determine whether they qualify for a federal subsidy and then purchase a plan.

As part of this "seamless" one-stop shopping approach that President Obama has boasted about in speeches at the White House and around the country, applicants will have to enter some basic information about themselves, such as their annual incomes, residency status and citizenship. Once that information has been entered, applicants will be presented with a number of potential plans and their premiums. After clicking one, a new window will open, routing the customers to the insurance company that offers the plan.

  • Health insurance marketplaces will not be required to verify consumer claims.
  • It would significantly scale back the health law's requirements that new insurance marketplaces verify consumers' income and health insurance status.
  • Instead, the federal government will rely more heavily on consumers' self-reported information until 2015, when it plans to have stronger verification systems in place.

This announcement gave more ammunition to critics who fear that a delayed and untested verification process is an open-invitation to cheat and have the government subsidize health care for those who could afford to pay the going rate.

  • Controversy over ObamaCare has raged from the outset.
  • Critics charge that ObamaCare will result in higher premiums for many Americans, particularly young people, and that it likely will prompt businesses to lay off millions of workers or scale back their hours to get around the new law.
  • Others complain that the law is too complicated and that businesses will have trouble meeting deadlines for providing insurance to their workers.

Source: David Francis and Eric Pianin, "ObamaCare Glitch No. One: Verifying Eligibility," Fiscal Times, July 22, 2013.


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