The Massachusetts Exchange Isn’t Working Either

With three weeks left in the year, not one of the thousands of Massachusetts residents who need to enroll in new health insurance plans by Jan. 1 has been able to do so through the state insurance marketplace that was revamped to comply with the national Affordable Care Act.

About 126,000 people enrolled in health plans subsidized by the state have until March to choose a new plan and can keep their current coverage until then. But thousands of others are depending on a new plan to start on the first of the year, and some worry that their coverage will not be ready in time. Their anxiety has only been heightened by stubborn technical problems, such as a snag this week that blocked many people from signing in to the website. (Boston Globe)

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  1. Devon Herrick says:

    With three weeks left in the year, not one of the thousands of Massachusetts residents who need to enroll in new health insurance plans by Jan. 1 has been able to do so through the state insurance marketplace…

    Wow! This is the first that I’ve heard of this! Many people think Massachusetts was the model for ObamaCare.

    • Dennis Byron says:

      Massachusetts is the model for PPACA:

      1. Fifth attempt — Before R/Care Massachusetts passed so-called healthcare insurance reforms in 1985, 1988, 1993, and 1997; R/Care — in 2006 — was just one of many failed attempts and RCare itself was replaced in 2012 with another “reform”)
      2. The individual and employer mandates became effective in 2008 and premiums and healthcare cost soared
      3. Romney blathered about a lot of “free riders” before passage but it turned out there were none–see next bullet
      4. Mass. has always had 93% or more people insured and Mass. has long — since 1997– had a Federal waiver to give much better Medicaid benefits than rest of country (RCare made the Medicaid benefits even better)
      5. 67% of the people insured in Mass were under self-insured plans or under Medicare and were not directly effected by RCare (but ended up being indirectly affected by the fact that RCare drove healthcare prices up even faster than they had been rising previously)
      6. Primarily the people R/C affected were in small groups or bought their own insurance (10%-12% of the residents) or on Medicaid (20%);
      a. RCare merged the individual and small group markets (both of which already had guaranteed issue from earlier reforms); naturally individual premiums went down and small group went up the first year R/C went into effect (simple insurance math) and then the new combined premium soared thereafter at same rate as all the other rapidly growing healthcare costs
      b. Because of the better Medicaid benefits and subsidized RCare (basically they were one and the same; to qualify for subsidized RCare you had to apply for Medicaid), 400,000 people got “insurance” (I personally don’t consider Medicaid insurance but I’ll keep it simple)
      c. The increase in number insured was primarily this 400,000 added to Medicare and subsidized RCare, many of the latter were forced out of small group and individual coverage
      7. Major changes such as ending continuous enrollment (initially you could sign up for Rcare in the hospital waiting room after the car accident) were made in 2008 and twice in 2010 because prices — for both insurance and health care — continued to skyrocket
      8. Finally in 2012, as prices continued to explode, the legislature effectively ended RCare by replacing its market-oriented approach with Soviet-era price controls (price controls were also part of the 1988 “Dukakacare reform” and will also not work this time because it does not affect those of us on Medicare and self-insured plans)
      9. Before RCare, about 70% of people were covered by employer sponsored insurance; now that percentage is down under 60%
      10. Another thing Romney blathered about was that it was bad for people to get healthcare at ERs; but that practice has not changed (see next bullet)
      11. Mass Medical Society surveys document very large decreases in doctors accepting new patients since RCare passed (any new patients, but espeically people with Medicaid, subsidized RCare and even full-price RCare–very few of the latter policies were sold)
      12. Sales and income taxes were raised 20% to fund RCare; in Romney’s proposal the savings re ER and other aspects of “reform” were supposed to make the cost revenue neutral

      So yeah, Massachusetts is the model for PPACA

      (Oh, there has been no improvement in people’s health (but to be fair, although it is expensive we have always had good health care here in Massachusetts))

  2. Perry says:

    Note to self:
    Do not hire CGI to do a website.

    • Howard says:

      When it comes to website design and things like cloud computing, don’t look to government to find the right people to hire for those things. Government tends to find the wrong people and spend too much money on them. Private industry does the opposite.

  3. Howard says:

    If the Massachusetts exchange is not working, then what will work? Massachusetts has been a leader in many areas.

  4. Lucas says:

    “More than 32,000 people have been able to complete an application. Only about 1,700 have selected a health plan.”

    Well, there goes my morning.