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Look who’s covered by Obamacare

By Jay MacDonald · Bankrate.com
Friday, March 14, 2014
Posted: 6 am ET

It's been interesting to watch news coverage of the Obamacare rollout as it shifts from demographic to demographic and chases the zeitgeist on President Barack Obama's legacy legislation, accomplished against all odds and a hurricane-force propaganda headwind.

Early focus on seniors

Prior to last fall, seniors were often featured prominently in Obamacare stories, despite the fact that eligibility for Medicare, by definition, excludes them from the health insurance exchanges. Their inclusion in the coverage seemed largely driven by all the fear-mongering "death panel" spillover from the political arena.

What few changes Obamacare made to a senior's life were unequivocally positive, including free annual wellness visits, health screenings without deductibles or copays, closing the prescription drug "doughnut hole" and a $350 million investment to fight Medicare fraud.

Then, an accent on youth

As fall approached, the media's attention shifted to the so-called "young invincibles" ages 18 to 30, whose participation is considered critical to the success of the new health exchanges. That was certainly warranted, given that the young owned a disproportionate percentage of the nonconforming "junk" policies that insurers were quickly shedding as Obamacare came into full flower.

The irony, of course, is that Obamacare also made it possible for most of that demographic to remain on their parents' health insurance until age 26. As a result, some were forced to consider exchange coverage while others were not.

Next, the newbies

For much of this young year, the media focus has been on the sheer numbers of Americans newly insured through the exchanges. This week, that total reached 4.2 million, a fairly middling milestone, falling as it does between the government's original goal of 7 million and the dire predictions from the "train wreck" segment of the political opposition.

Most analysts blame the shortfall on the fumbled rollout of the HealthCare.gov website, which served as the default exchange for 36 states that didn't seize the option to build their own.

Now that we're little more than two weeks away from the closing of Obamacare's initial open enrollment, it's interesting to watch the focus shift once again, this time to groups that have flocked to coverage through the exchanges.

Behind prison walls

The New York Times recently examined the surge in prison inmates signing up for coverage. No, not through the exchanges, but instead through that other major initiative of Obamacare that allows states the option to expand Medicaid.

Why the sudden interest behind bars? Because for the first time, states that do expand Medicaid can extend coverage to single and childless adults, a major part of the prison population. The incarcerated also suffer disproportionately higher rates of chronic diseases, including mental illness and addictions. Health experts estimate that up to 35 percent of those newly eligible for Medicaid in the 26 expansion states have jail or prison histories.

Capitol Hill coverage

But my favorite focus piece by far since exchange fever hit is an item from The Washington Post that reveals that 12,000 Capitol Hill staffers have signed up for health insurance through the District of Columbia's new small business marketplace, even though most work for one of the largest businesses in town: Congress. In fact, the congressional aides account for 70 percent of the policies sold thus far through the D.C. Health Link and 98 percent of the plans written through its small business exchange.

Follow me on Twitter: @omnisaurus.

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63 Comments
Jody
June 28, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Those who qualify for the 56 dollar a month insurance already were causing problems to the cost of health care. Our government cant even balance a budget or operate in the black. WHO IN THE HELL DECIDED THEY COULD MANAGE THIS..... My wife and a look in to insurance and guess what we still cant afford it. It would cost us over 1000.00 a month. So with both having a supposed 4000 deductible and 1000 a month we would be spending over 20000 a year. We are healthy, we eat healthy. It is not fair that our government keeps punishing us for trying to succeed. We are thinking about shutting the business doors and becoming democrats, I mean riding the system.... Hell it pays better and better benefits.....

Terri
June 28, 2014 at 1:01 pm

The other side of Obamacare is that it pays doctors about 60% of medicare rate. Most of those who are on OC have huge deductibles and multiple health issues that require extensive work up and time, but when they are sent the balance bill, most do not pay the doctor. In California, Many MDs are signing off Blue Cross Obamacare end of June. For those still with OC in July, good luck in finding a doctor who is competent or who actually graduated from a US medical school.

joe vacca
June 28, 2014 at 12:00 pm

All the in between crowd that have a problem, and are on a computer is mainly because they do not do an in depth investigation of what they need to find out. complaining on these blogs does not get real answers. people who do not have a pc, or tablet can go to a library, church, synagog, mosque , or such, and get real answers to the questions. if you don`t believe that, just try to get the answers you need, just try!

Mike
June 28, 2014 at 11:41 am

I'm 61, wife is 62, and my monthly premium just went up $188. Now I pay $800. a month, and the coverage doesn't kick in until I pay the first $4000. in bills. We're retired teachers and getting poorer every day.

john
June 28, 2014 at 9:47 am

all i see is all the touting how great obamacare is,but no specifics on what these wonderful cheap plans cover???

Dan
June 28, 2014 at 4:10 am

I hope the people getting cheap health insurance are enjoying the ride. My insurance doubled in price for less coverage. Next president needs to get rid of this program ASAP.

Allen Perkins
June 28, 2014 at 12:19 am

I am a senior on Medicare and I pay approx.$350.00 a month for a supplemental policy with United Healthcare.....my question for you am I eligible for a policy without the 'GAP aka DONUT HOLE'....I will use 1 'script.as an example I have COPD and use Advair once I am in the gap I still pay 1/2 price for this $240.00 every month....same with Insulin and 9-10 other 'scripts.I am 71 y.o and I read above that the 'gap' is closed with an Obamacare policy....my medical costs are going to put me in the street.....so my basic question is....may I sign up with OC in the fall for a policy that does not rise yearly?

joann
June 27, 2014 at 9:16 pm

I agree with Julie I am 61 not old enough for Medicare and can not afford insurance. I am a diabetic, with several health issues. I pay out of pocket. Thank the heavens for a clinic and a program. I use 6 bottles of insulin a month.These normally cost 24- 54 per bottle. I get them for 14. I am breaking the law every day. What a shame, I don't know my country any more and it doesn't care about me

Linda
June 27, 2014 at 6:44 pm

Julie

That is the cost of having coveage that you do not need or want. I feel sorry for the in betweens and you are right all of the illegals are getting free insurance. So the hard working americans have to pay for it. I see more and more money coming out of my check almost not worth getting up and going to work.

Julie
June 27, 2014 at 5:55 pm

we of the in-between crowd, before being medicare eligible, have been DROPPED and/ or PRICED OUT of any decent healthcare coverage. A catostrophic policy that covers basically NOTHING, with a $10,000 deductible, that CHARGES you $500.00 if you go to the E.R. and are not admitted with a heart attack or stroke, is all that is out there at $700-900.00/mo. To heck with that! OBAMACARE REALLY SUCKS for the in-between crowd! Those of us who SUPPORT those of you who are under 29, or illegal immigrants! A decent, hard working American can't get a decent BREAK!

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