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Thursday, 30 January 2014 09:45

ObamaCare Forces Kids Into Medicaid

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“The law isn’t making health-care more affordable, it’s masking a huge price increase.”

These sentiments, expressed by Shannon Wendt of Grand Rapids, Michigan, are but the latest version of a common refrain being sung throughout the United States: The Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka ObamaCare, is egregiously misnamed.

Wendt, a 30-year-old mother of five, recently discovered what many other parents are also learning the hard way: If their children are eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), they must be covered under that program, not under a family health plan bought on an exchange. Otherwise, the family will forfeit its premium-assistance subsidy — in many cases, the only thing making insurance affordable under the ACA, which otherwise drives up premiums.

According to FOXBusiness, Wendt struggled for months to obtain health insurance through Healthcare.gov, spending much of her Christmas Eve trying to make sure her family would be covered when the new year arrived — a necessity given that “her family’s Blue Cross Blue Shield plan was cancelled for not meeting certain requirements under” ObamaCare. On the very last day of 2013, she managed to obtain temporary coverage directly from Blue Cross Blue Shield, albeit with a significantly increased premium and deductible from the family’s previous plan.

Once Wendt — who, with her husband, Zach, is a small-business owner — finally managed to get Healthcare.gov to work, she discovered that because their family income falls below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, the Wendts qualify for a subsidy for buying insurance, and their children are eligible for CHIP. The catch is that the children must be enrolled in CHIP. If they are added to the family’s plan that was purchased on the exchange, the Wendts can kiss their subsidy goodbye.

“If we want our children on our family plan — whether its [sic] two or 10 people — we lose the subsidy,” Wendt told FOXBusiness. “It’s amazing that they are forcing families onto government health-care. It almost feels like an attack on small business owners. This revelation is more frustrating than the initial glitch.”

The Wendts are hardly alone in their predicament.

“It’s a nationwide issue that we’ve heard time and again, and it could have very significant coverage issues for families,” Jessica Waltman of the National Association of Health Underwriters told the Associated Press, which notes that Waltman “said her group has raised the problem, and others, with federal officials and asked for a dedicated hotline or email address for insurance brokers to get answers.”

Thus far, however, Washington has been relatively unresponsive, and so “children are going without coverage,” writes the AP.

“The children are getting stuck in this spot where we’ve enrolled the parent, but we can’t bring the children back on the family plan,” Maria Proulx, senior legal counsel for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Hampshire, told a Granite State advisory board earlier this month.

Russell Clouden, 53, of North Port, Florida, “was thrilled to find a better, cheaper family plan through the new marketplace, then stunned to realize his 14-year-old daughter wouldn’t be enrolled because she might qualify for Florida Healthy Kids, the state’s version of CHIP,” reports the AP. “The federal government still hasn’t transferred roughly 90,000 Medicaid files over to Florida officials, including Clouden’s daughter’s, so she still doesn’t have insurance.”

“Based on your income, they’ll separate your kids from your primary policy and they shift them off to Medicaid or Healthy Kids and there’s no way you can bring them back,” Clouden said.

Matthew Dinkel, an insurance broker in Fort Myers, Florida, told the AP “he has about 15 clients in Clouden’s position.”

“I have worried parents literally calling and texting me every day asking for an update,” said Dinkel. “They canceled their old plans that covered their entire family and now they have coverage but their kids don’t.”

New Hampshire construction consultant Marc Jobin told the AP that the enrollment “process has been so confusing, he’s put off a decision for himself, his wife and their two children, even though he’s seen premiums that are significantly lower than what they pay now.”

“We’ve been hesitating for two months now because the information is not clear,” Jobin said. “Around the holidays, we were thinking, ‘let’s do this, let’s sign up,’ and then the latest problem is now our children will probably be thrown into the state health care system, but nobody knows what that means.”

For that matter, nobody even knows for sure if the Jobin kids will end up in the state system. Like Florida, New Hampshire “is getting incomplete application information from the federal government, making it harder to contact people to determine their Medicaid eligibility,” New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services associate commissioner Mary Ann Cooney told the AP.

Robert Clark of California got the runaround from his state insurance exchange but ultimately discovered that he, too, had to enroll his children in Medicaid. He told the AP he “doesn’t like that prospect because the doctors his children have seen since their births don’t take Medicaid.”

That’s because “a lot of Medicaid and CHIP programs pay physicians less than private insurers and Medicare,” Paul Howard, director and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute’s Center for Medical Progress, told FOXBusiness. “When [patients] go to see a specialist, they may wait longer, or not even get to see some of the doctors they want to see.”

Howard said “it’s unclear if [forcing kids into Medicaid and CHIP] is unintentional, or if it is a mechanism to offset the score of the bill, as CHIP is less expensive than federal subsidies,” writes FOXBusiness. The Obama administration isn’t exactly helping to make things any clearer. “The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services [CMS] declined to say how the system is supposed to work for families and what problems have emerged,” the AP reports. “But a regional manager for CMS acknowledged the problem … and said the agency is working on it.”

New Hampshire’s Cooney agrees that things are improving, telling the AP, “There’s a real light at the end of the tunnel.”

Of course, given how well ObamaCare has worked out so far, that light at the end of the tunnel just might be an oncoming train.

1 comment

  • Comment Link Heidi Preston Thursday, 30 January 2014 22:05 posted by Heidi Preston

    There are many things to consider besides the price tag of the healthcare.
    "“Based on your income, they’ll separate your kids from your primary policy " is a very powerful statement. In Plato's Republic,"He advocated extreme methods, by removing children from their parents’ care and raising them as wards of the state (K12 Academics). ..The major aims of the Platonic education theory were to produce future servants of the state; " This of course pertains to Plato's views toward education but in order to raise "wards of the state" they need to be handed over to the state through legal contract.
    These children will have to repay the amount used in Medicaid at the end of their life span and should we recover without going into a global scenario or even if we do, their livelihood and assets have been hoodwinked through an executive order that should never had happen in a democratic society but then we are more like a banana republic and in this context it makes sense.
    Right now we have young adults who are not contributing to social security or Medicare which is based on age not income. There will be no safety net for this lost generation of workers to fall back on. Some may say good, this was a temporary measure to a crisis a long time ago and they need to provide for themselves. Ok, but if you belong to a global economy which uses it's investments (without the consent of it's tax payers money into developing countries rather than their sovereign Nation, then the potential and opportunity to work becomes a mute point. The banks tighten loans for new businesses, no cash saved for startup, and back to no job. It is a formula for failure without ANY safety net for the future.
    On top of all this the price of healthcare has increased rather than decreased during a time of great recession/depression which makes no sense unless you deliberately want to crash the economy to ensure that the sovereignty of nations will fall.
    Germany tried this method of healthcare and it was a failure. IT took 50 percent of the income to ensure preventive medicine and chronic medicine could be covered. Germany now under a former socialist /communist leader (their choice they keep electing her) is now siphoning their bank accounts and Germans know how to save unlike the credit nation that we the United States is.
    Insurance is one of the top income producers for the GDP so that tells you what condition this country is in when we have to enforce such measures on our citizens to pay our bills.
    To add to this dilemma which is a tangent off healthcare. Several countries since 2005 have been getting off the dollar for oil transactions and move to the Euro. So this global trade economy isn't so un-biased as first appearances.

    China- dropped dollar peg in 2005 (this helped the housing crisis which was a superficial method of propping up the economy with trash money and the bankers/investors knew it..the US citizens paid a dear price and still are).

    Venezuela- Under Chavez allowed to trade with 12 Latin American countries and Cuba without using the dollar. 2000 encouraged OPEC to do the same.

    Iraq- wanted to get rid of dollar for oil- killed off the leader instead to maintain status quo.

    Libya-wanted to get rid of dollar for oil-killed off the leader instead to maintain status quo.

    Sudan- converted Dollar holdings to Euro and other currencies. Former Pres. Clinton used sanctions which included 31 Sudanese companies...they suffered and it worked.

    Iran-receives non-dollar currencies for 85% of it's oil exports and had plans to use the Arab Emirates Dirham.

    Russia-2005 President Vladamir Putin (who again is in charge in 2014) put an end to dollar peg opting for Euro. Russia is Worlds second largest oil exporter.

    Now the Levantine Basin oil and gas finds are supposed to be the largest find yet and we have a Houston Texas company involved. The citizens won't be seeing any of this money into the economy except through the military and transportation of it.

    So how do all of these separate pieces fit together with Obama care? We (Country) are broke and we are setting our kids up for failure and debt before they can even make their own choices and the young adults have no safety net to speak of and will wind up owing the government their profits if and when we reestablish into a growing economy of minimum wagers, because they are forced to secure health insurance which they have no means to pay during a great recession/depression. Does this sound like a leader of the people, for the people and by the people or a global chess move to push us into conformity with the single government, banking and military of EU model? You be the judge.

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