My editors asked me to follow up on a great Bloomberg article about the possible effects of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA) employer mandate delay.
Alex Wong quoted interesting experts who suggested that the mandate delay could lead to increase in enrollment at the individual health insurance exchanges.
If, for example, PPACA gives employers no shove to expand group health enrollment in 2014, and the states and the Obama administration manage to get the individual exchange program and the PPACA individual health insurance purchase tax credit subsidy program more or less as written, more or less on time: Then, the workers who still don’t have affordable health care will have an incentive to run on over to the exchanges to buy coverage there.
Meanwhile, the Republicans seem to be doing their best to strangle U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services (HHS) exchange marketing program, by leaving it about enough cash to pay a few guys in frowzy Elmos suit to hand out a few exchange postcards to tourists in New York’s Times Square. (“Bring three paying guests to the exchange and get a mixed drink for free!”)
It hit me that the combination of more business from middle-income workers and less business from low-income people who are hard to reach because they live under highway overpasses might be good for the exchanges.
On the one hand, one challenge is that, no matter who signs up for exchange health coverage, patients who already have one foot in the grave are sure to take advantage of the PPACA requirement that health insurers make coverage available even to people with serious health problems.