In case you haven’t been paying attention, the next major step in the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, takes place next Tuesday, October 1st when all Health Exchanges go live.
What does this monumental event mean to 5.5 million Hoosiers?
Well, if you’ve watched our congressman Luke Messer and governor Mike Pence on Fox News, you would think the world was coming to an end, but guess what.
Not only will the world not come to an end, it will be a non-event for 84% of Hoosiers.
However, for the 1.1 million Hoosiers, or 16% of Hoosiers struggling with their finances and unable to buy needed health insurance, it means they can go online and buy health care insurance from the federal government.
How does Muncie Voice know there are 1.1 million Hoosiers without health care insurance?
That’s easy – former Governor Mitch Daniel’s administration received $7.7 million in federal grant money to study our health care issues in Indiana, and paid for the preliminary work to set up a health care exchange in Indiana in both 2010 and 2011. The findings of the State Health Access and Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) were an estimated 1.1 million Hoosiers (16%) will be accessing the Exchange to buy health insurance. The number could rise if larger businesses drop coverage.
Despite the state receiving $7.8 million from the federal government and spending almost 2 years putting together the necessary framework like IT support, program development, constant meetings with stakeholders, naming the non-profit to house the Health Exchange, and assigning board seats for delivering services to Hoosiers, we never went through with the Exchange. Why?
An election happened and Mitch Daniels asked Mike Pence in November of 2012 what he planned to do once he took office. Mike told Mitch, “Tell the federal government Hoosiers aren’t interested.”
His letter, proudly displayed on his website, dated November 15, 2012 states, “I do not believe the State of Indiana should establish a state-based health insurance exchange because doing so will cost taxpayers millions of dollars and it is not clear that Hoosiers would benefit from incurring the cost of implementing this new federal healthcare bureaucracy.”
Even though Mike wanted a local alternative, with a few strokes of a pen, he eliminated all the work done by the Department of Insurance and hundreds of staff members, consultants, lawyers and stakeholders. What was his local solution?
His local alternative was to keep the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) which has a long waiting list, and the federal guidelines for income levels means several thousand more Hoosiers will get booted off HIP to join the 1.1 million Hoosiers going directly to the federal government to get health insurance beginning next Tuesday, October 1st.
Meanwhile, Mr. Pence has joined his tea sipping caucus members in holding the U.S. government hostage to defund Obamacare before the September 30th budget deadline.
Not only will such a ridiculous plan backfire wreaking havoc for 330 million Americans, Mr. Pence is leaving millions of Hoosiers in the dark about how to get health insurance. Folks we’ve talked to have been waiting for years on this benefit to become a reality.
We put together some simple steps to help our neighbors. Remember, to qualify for coverage beginning next year, and not be assessed a penalty, you must sign up before December 14, 2013. Take our advice and avoid the rush on October 1st. Give them some time to tweak the system once the initial rush of calls hit the system. They do expect problems with this new system.
There are a few tools on Indiana’s website recently put together. The website explains the roles of Navigators who will be assisting consumers in this process. There are Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), so you can review those as well before you go to the Federal Exchange to purchase health insurance. Mike’s Deputy Press Secretary, Bridget Cleveland, ACA Information Packet to us yesterday.
What’s hilarious or pathetic, depending on your view, is Mike has included the misleading letter from an Indiana Actuary who claims Obamacare will cost Hoosiers 72% more than existing insurance premiums.
Muncie Voice shared the Rick Ungar’s article in Forbes which debunks that myth and why Mike Pence wants to scare Hoosiers, and makes this statement about Mike Pence, “But an honest analysis gets in the way of politics, particularly when we are talking about an ambitious Republican governor like Mike Pence.”
The bottom line is the Affordable Care Act is already driving down costs of healthcare, and that is very bad news for republicans like Pence whose party has spent the better part of two years trying to eliminate the law from going into effect.
Since Indiana and our leadership in this state have done everything to obstruct and complicate this law due to politics, our recommendation is to skip the Indiana’s website completely and go straight to the source provided by the federal government: http://www.nationalhealthcare.in.gov.
Another strong supporter of healthcare reform has been the Kaiser Family Foundation. They have provided the following ‘Subsidy Calculator’ which will give you an idea of the cost to you when choosing health insurance coverage. It is based on projected 2014 personal income and then applies the federal government tax credits. It’s a great source of information and will give you and idea how much insurance will cost on the Health Exchange: