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Obamacare enters new phase as online marketplaces open for 2015 plans


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  • Healthcare.gov website appears to work smoothly after difficulties last year
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  • Health insurance programme aims to enrol 9.1 million people in 2015

 

 

  • Reuters in Washington
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  • theguardian.com, Saturday 15 November 2014 16.36 GMT

 

 

President Barack Obama’s plan to extend private health coverage to the uninsured entered a new uncertain phase on Saturday as US government-backed online insurance marketplaces opened their 2015 plans to millions of potential enrollees.

 

The HealthCare.gov website relaunched with little fanfare and appeared to work smoothly early on Saturday with no sign of the technical glitches that paralysed the operation a year ago and drove Democrat Obama’s signature domestic policy to the brink of disaster, exposing him to criticism from Republicans who have campaigned for its repeal.

 

Obama used his weekly address to pitch Obamacare’s selling points: subsidised premiums, guaranteed access for the sick and free preventive services. A new government outreach campaign also kicked off with online promotions and over 200 weekend enrolment events.

 

Lower-income adults who are young, black or Hispanic remain a key audience, because large numbers lack health insurance.

 

Officials, who have concentrated on producing a smooth experience for consumers, phased in the operation by allowing people to window shop for plans during the week leading up to Saturday.

 

But the administration is also hedging its bets by acknowledging potential problems, such as outages, as traffic to the site swells. Officials greatly reduced their overall 2015 target to 9.1 million enrollees from 13 million.

 

The 2010 law known as Obamacare is intended to extend health coverage to millions of uninsured Americans in all 50 states and to expand the Medicaid programme for the poor that has taken hold in 27 states.

 

A new Republican majority in Congress in January is committed to repealing or dismantling the healthcare law. The US supreme court will also hear a new legal challenge that could end federal subsidies for low-income families through a federal marketplace that spans three-dozen states.

 

There are concerns that consumers in some of the 14 states that operate their own Obamacare marketplaces could have trouble again. Maryland, a state that was plagued by issues for months, is staggering its opening with enrolment beginning 19 November.

 

The 15 November-15 February open enrolment period allows qualified Americans to obtain private health coverage for 2015, often with federally subsidised premiums.

 

A main question is whether HealthCare.gov can handle new enrollees and renewals simultaneously. Nearly 6 million current policy holders are expected to re-enroll, and many may avoid automatic renewal by shopping and enrolling in different plans.

 

 

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The US government’s Healthcare.gov website aims to help millions of Americans have access to health insurance in 2015. Photograph: Uncredited/AP

 

 

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/nov/15/obamacare-new-phase-online-marketplaces-2015-plans

 

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Besides being a total charade... Why have these open-enrollment periods, then shut down enrollment opportunity, when it's the LAW that EVERYONE has to buy it?!!!   Makes no sense!  After Feb. 15th (as it was the first enrollment period ended March 31, 2014 when I had to jump through hoops to get a new policy after being cancelled)  people once again will NOT BE ABLE TO ENROLL... thus breaking the law.   If they want everyone covered... why shut down enrollment? 

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One can only hope that the Republicans who so clearly objected to O care, and are now in a position to finally do something about it as a majority in both Senate and House.... will tear this thing down immediately... Hopefully it is the first thing on their agenda... blow it up. deconstruct, and go back to the drawing board.... They have the power to do something... now do it.. act on those objections, and take it down.... .

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One can only hope that the Republicans who so clearly objected to O care, and are now in a position to finally do something about it as a majority in both Senate and House.... will tear this thing down immediately... Hopefully it is the first thing on their agenda... blow it up. deconstruct, and go back to the drawing board.... They have the power to do something... now do it.. act on those objections, and take it down.... .

 

I don't have too much confidence in McConnell or Boehner, but maybe they will find some power in the numbers.

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Those people had a frickin fit... if that was nothing more than grandstanding, or posturing ... and they have no intention of walking the way they talk... that will be beyond annoying... not to mention a possible game changer in the next election.... oy!!!!

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