The healthcare.gov website is not going to be fixed by the end of the month.
As a result, most people will NOT be able to enroll in commercial plans that start January 1.
Many of those who are already insured got cancellation notices, so their policies will not exist after January 1. And it will be very, very difficult for insurance companies to postpone or “cancel” those cancellations. Not because they don’t want to but because they can’t.
Insurance companies have spent years preparing for January 1; programming computers, developing policy language and getting it approved by regulators, setting up new provider networks, cutting deals with providers; setting up EDI links with the government and banks, and building new reimbursement and clinical management programs. All are ready to go, tested, checked, and waiting for the ball to drop.
They can’t just undo this; they can’t call “Time Out” or hold off, or stop. The train is leaving the station, and there’s nothing the President or anyone else can do to stop it.
Which puts the Administration in a very poor position, albeit one they built themselves. The website won’t be ready, and the current policies won’t be in force as of January 1.
Is there a solution?
Not that I see.
What does this mean for you?
Depends on your state. I’ll address the impact on workers’ comp in a future post.