Uncertainty abounds as healthcare deadline looms

Tomorrow is the deadline for people to sign up for health insurance that is due to take effect on January 1.

However, much uncertainty exists among insurers and consumers, due to government decisions to delay some of Obamacare's most important provisions, a result of the fiasco that has been the Healthcare.gov Web site, which suffered a three-hour outage on Friday.

The latest change is allowing anybody whose current plan is illegal under the new law to buy "catastrophic coverage", whereby benefits are limited and the deductibles are high. Those plans were initially supposed to be restricted to people under 30 years of age.

President Obama said on Friday that over 1M Americans have selected new health-insurance plans through the new exchanges. That's well below the initial target of 3.3M by the end of December.

Industry trade group Health Insurance Plans said its members will give consumers until January 10 to pay the first month's premium of a plan as long as they pick a scheme by tomorrow night. The move follows a request from the White House for insurance companies to be relaxed about the various deadlines.

The NYT profiles how Obamacare has hit those in the middle class who earn too much to be eligible for subsidies. "In some places, prices can quickly approach 20% of a person's income," the NYT writes. "Experts consider health insurance unaffordable once it exceeds 10%."

More on Obamacare.

Relevant company tickers: AET, HNT, HUM, UNH, WLP, MOH.


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Comments (17)
  • DeepValueLover
    , contributor
    Comments (11220) | Send Message
    Let's hire a local community organizer with zero business experience or experience leading more than 85 people to run the largest, most complex economy in the world.


    In fact, let's do it twice.


    Yeah, that'd be a good idea...


    22 Dec 2013, 08:34 AM Reply Like
  • vireoman
    , contributor
    Comments (1251) | Send Message
    I suppose we could have hired the guy with ample business experience 'buying' firms by using the firm's own money, then firing most everyone, saddling the firm with enormous debt, paying oneself an enormous bonus for what a genius businessman you are, and then moving on. That genius businessman had engineered a model health insurance plan for a state when he was governor, but then completely disavowed that very plan when he ran for president, as his constituency had no interest in it.
    22 Dec 2013, 08:58 AM Reply Like
  • DeepValueLover
    , contributor
    Comments (11220) | Send Message


    We could have hired one of approximately 150 million other far more qualified Americans.


    I didn't support the guy who lost but at least there was evidence that he signed off on a budget at some point in his life (or even balanced a checkbook once or twice).
    22 Dec 2013, 09:24 AM Reply Like
  • DwightK
    , contributor
    Comments (19) | Send Message
    I'm still amused people would actually think the country is run by one person.
    23 Dec 2013, 12:25 AM Reply Like
  • DeepValueLover
    , contributor
    Comments (11220) | Send Message
    "The Buck Stops Here"


    -From a sign that once sat on some guy's desk in Washington, D.C.
    23 Dec 2013, 09:18 AM Reply Like
  • SoCalNative+(RIP)
    , contributor
    Comments (651) | Send Message
    Good enough for government work.
    22 Dec 2013, 09:33 AM Reply Like
  • GaltMachine
    , contributor
    Comments (2080) | Send Message
    Blame Bush?


    22 Dec 2013, 10:12 AM Reply Like
  • june1234
    , contributor
    Comments (4406) | Send Message
    Ill tell you one thing that is not uncertain. With 30 million new customers coming on line health care sector should do very very well in 14
    22 Dec 2013, 10:22 AM Reply Like
  • dancing diva
    , contributor
    Comments (2743) | Send Message
    Why do you think healthcare was one of the strongest sectors in 2013? That ship has sailed. And I doubt there will be "30 million new customers".


    In fact, I'd avoid the insurers for the moment. So few young and healthy are signing up and with Obama last week giving a pass to those who lost coverage due to noncomplying plans, this could be a bust. In fact I'm hoping it is since a major overhaul of the misnamed affordable care act is needed.
    22 Dec 2013, 04:14 PM Reply Like
  • justaminute
    , contributor
    Comments (1616) | Send Message
    The much hated insurance companies have been given a golden parachute by the ACA in the form of bailouts via US taxpayers. All will be good for insurance companies until the government ends the charade of a free market in medical insurance due to the destruction wrought on the industry by the ACA and the entitlement class is then told the only way to fix the problem is for the government to run the whole operation. They will vote accordingly. Medical insurance companies will go the way of the dinosaur.
    22 Dec 2013, 05:12 PM Reply Like
  • investingInvestor
    , contributor
    Comments (2482) | Send Message
    Sooo many Americans voted for change in 2008 and were disappointed when change did not come.


    Americans again voted for change in 2012 and were sooo screwed when change did come.
    22 Dec 2013, 10:29 AM Reply Like
  • DeepValueLover
    , contributor
    Comments (11220) | Send Message
    I wish a news station would interview that famous lady who was so worked up after an '08 Obama rally that she swore she wouldn't have to worry about her bills anymore because "if I help Him out He'll help me out".




    I'd LOVE to know what her life is like now that her bill problems have been solved!
    22 Dec 2013, 01:50 PM Reply Like
  • Birdinhand
    , contributor
    Comments (25) | Send Message
    As I commented last month, I would not be invested in any healthcare stock, especially Wellpoint. Instead of helping to prevent Obamacare from becoming law they not only supported it but helped usher it in. In reality they have dug their own hole and soon will be pushed in and covered up.
    22 Dec 2013, 11:21 AM Reply Like
  • investingInvestor
    , contributor
    Comments (2482) | Send Message
    Bird in hand, the US government has a single competency, and that is to spend money. Wherever the US government spends money, the rising tide floats all boats. A positive example is the Philippines after the recent typhoon.


    What does the US government know about Web sites, health insurance, running successful businesses? Too little to predict success. Obamacare is a Web site too far...but money cures a lot of ills.


    How are US citizen rights being respected by Obamacare? The bureaucrats are changing the rules most every day, like in Animal Farm. The bureaucrats are covering their butts.
    23 Dec 2013, 12:05 PM Reply Like
  • RM13
    , contributor
    Comments (1264) | Send Message
    I'm trying to be apolitical about this. The most interesting statistic for me to follow will be - how many people had their insurance coverage cancelled versus how many people signed up for insurance through state and federal Obamacare websites? Of course, both parties will try to skew the numbers in their favor.


    I think we will learn that greater number of Americans have lost insurance than gained it in the process. The penalties for lack of health insurance are currently too small AND health care premiums too high to make it affordable for upper lower and middle classes. This will lead to further income/benefit inequality, no doubt.
    22 Dec 2013, 11:59 AM Reply Like
  • gethigh
    , contributor
    Comments (42) | Send Message
    @RM13 I'm inclined to agree with your assessments. It's not looking good. This article is also not encouraging: http://buswk.co/1cqwmwd


    Even my parents don't understand the basic insurance terminology. *sigh*
    23 Dec 2013, 04:59 AM Reply Like
  • justaminute
    , contributor
    Comments (1616) | Send Message
    "1M Americans have selected new health-insurance plans through the new exchanges" - The question that the Administration does not want to answer - How many of those that "selected" a plan actually began paying for it at full rate? The point is, I believe, the vast majority of those that "selected" a plan and actually completed enrollment are going to be net takers from the system (i.e. - "free" via Medicaid or subsidized at taxpayer cost).
    22 Dec 2013, 12:29 PM Reply Like
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