Can These Guides Help Americans Navigate Obamacare?
Many problems could derail the Affordable Care Act from successfully providing coverage to America’s uninsured, who number 30 million. Maybe too few young, cheap-to-insure people will sign up; maybe the computer hub, which links much-needed data between government agencies to determine who is eligible federal subsidies and who qualifies for Medicaid might not work; or perhaps too few insurance companies will participate in the exchanges, keeping competition low and rates high. But right now, as the reform continues to move from the abstract political world of Washington, one of the largest problem standing in way of the implementation of Obamacare is understanding.
If Americans choose not to purchase insurance via the online marketplaces because they either do not have enough information to sign up for enrollment in the exchanges or believe that insurance coverage will be too expensive, insurance will become more expensive. To experts on the health care reform, this lack of understanding is seen as a major problem for the success of Obamacare’s main objective: bringing affordable health care to the currently uninsured.
The health insurance coverage provided by the Affordable Care Act’s individual exchanges needs a lot of healthy, cheap-to-insure people to sign up for coverage because their premiums will cover the big medical bills for the relatively small number of sick people. “So if the exchanges don’t enroll enough young, healthy people, insurers will have to raise everyone’s premiums. In the worst case, this could create what actuaries call a ‘death spiral’: Rising premiums prompt people to drop out, causing premiums to increase even more,” wrote the New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn in May. In other words, the exchanges need a broad, health risk pool to keep staggering rate increases from occurring — and keeping insurance premiums affordable matters immensely to the health care reform’s success.