Potential Problems Await Consumers With ACA’s Second Enrollment

There could potentially be some problems for consumers with the second enrollment of President Barack Obama’s healthcare law (Affordable Care Act), which is set to open in a couple of months.

While a meltdown like last year isn’t forecasted, the new sign-up period could reveal some underlying issues with the law that isn’t going to be easily remedied like the computer system. The issue stems from the interaction between taxes and insurance, which is set to confuse millions. And, people enrolled in the program won’t easily be able to enroll again for 2015.

One problem is that the eight million people who signed up are automatically set for auto renewal, which is a bad idea. They may lose out on the opportunity for lower-premium options or be stuck with an out-of-date government subsidy. This renewal should only be done as the final resort.

A second problem is that the nearly five million people expected to sign up will have half the enrollment time as the year before. It opens Nov. 15, 2014 and will close Feb. 15, 2015. This enrollment period is also during the holiday season.

A third problem is that most people get tax credits that assist them with paying the premiums. Since these subsidies are tied to a person’s income, consumers will need to file new forms to ensure they got the right amount. If it’s found they received too much, they’ll have a lower tax refund. If they didn’t get enough, the government will owe them money.

A fourth problem stems from the nearly 10 million people who still do not have health insurance. They will be penalized for the first time, unless they can get an exemption.

Vice President for Health Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Judy Solomon said this is the second open enrollment but it’s the first tax season and renewal where ACA’s requirements are set in place.

She said with all this going on – short timeframe and overlapping – there are going to be problems.

The Internal Revenue Service is using its website and social media to spread the word about the issues consumers may have when they go to enroll or do auto renewal.

When the federal website went live last year, it crashed the very same day and took nearly two months to get things working properly. The Obama administration has promised things will go smoother this year but did not release details on how.

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Posted by on Sep 14 2014. Filed under Health, New. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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