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Consumer Group Finds Key Obamacare Feature Lacking

A national nonpartisan consumer organization that has studied health care for more than three decades has found that Health Insurance Exchanges, a critical component of Obamacare intended to provide consumers with choices of health plans, has worked poorly where it has already been tried.

The organization, Consumers’ Checkbook, writes that the exchanges have a faulty record of providing consumers with usable information about plans’ costs, benefits, and quality.

“Unfortunately, the track record in this field is not good,” writes Checkbook in an email sent to its members. From the email:

It is not just the challenges of comparing plans’ costs. Most existing “exchanges” do not make it easy for consumers to find out which plans have their preferred doctors—or to identify good doctors and other providers. Most provide only limited help for consumers to evaluate the quality of care and service they can expect with each plan.

Under Obamacare, every state is required to set up “exchanges,” essentially marketplaces where consumers can shop for plans by comparing their services and prices.

But exchanges set up in states prior to Obamacare have failed to provide enough useful information for consumers to make informed choices.

When buyers attempt to price shop the plans, they are left with “mind-boggling cost questions” that inhibit their ability to easily make accurate comparisons, according to Checkbook. The group notes:

Research by Consumer Reports has found that consumers “dread” shopping for health insurance, and that the “difficulties are so profound that the vast majority of consumers are essentially being asked to buy a very expensive product—critical to their health—while blindfolded.”

In the email, Checkbook suggests a variety of remedies to try to make the exchanges more effective.

Under Obamacare, the exchanges are scheduled to be fully operational by Jan. 1, 2014. If states fail to establish the exchanges, the federal government will do it for them.

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36 Responses to Consumer Group Finds Key Obamacare Feature Lacking

  1. The law is a tangled, unmanagable, and unsustainable mess that almost no one wants. The only sensible and constitutional thing to do is to scrap the whole law.

  2. It simply does not matter if a program has worked or not or even how efficient it has worked. All that matters to a progressive is that their idiology is superior and that the program will work. It may take more money or time, but to them, one way or another, it will work. There is no need in trying to alter their mind or persuade them, as their agenda is all that matters.

      • Now Susan, you know they needed a nice office, etc, before they could be expected to properly serve the public. I don’t know how you spend $182,000 on office furniture.

    • Public education comes to mind..
      One size fits all in the progs’ mind..
      One size fits few in reality..
      But when has that ever made them step back and reconsider??

      • Like trying to convince a 9 yr old there is no Santa Clause or Easter
        bunny..
        BTW this horrible law mostly caters/favors an individual group which I dare mention lest I be branded racist, uncaring and
        wanting to see people die like ALL other Republicans..
        Forget facts they don’t count !

      • Check this out. I live in Normal, IL. the middle school I went to back in the day is practically in my back yard. They expanded the kitchen, and apparently there is asbestos in the construction. So instead of waiting until the end of school, they are bussing all the kids to different schools. No work has begun on the building. All those kids got disrupted big time. I cannot fathom those teacher unions telling me it is all about the kids. and watch my property taxes go up.

  3. There will be no Obamacare exchanges in Texas… Since Obamacare and its namesake will be nothing but a terrible nightmare in America’s rear view mirror by Jan 2014, I believe Governor Perry made the right decision.

  4. ObamaCare is going to be a nightmare of epic proportions on every level! Obama is going to get a taste of his own medicine if he is reelected – the backlash ain’t going to be pretty! In a perverse way, I hope he does get another 4 years – he deserves to suffer the consequences of his first 4 years!

    Long-term care ins. has already been shuttered, along with early retiree reinsurance. Seniors are out of luck:
    OBAMACARE’S EXPENSIVE EXCHANGES – HIT AND RUN

    http://reason.com/blog/2012/02/29/obamacares-expensive-exchanges#

    • No need to remind “this” senior. The current Medicare system is a maze that requires months of reading through material that would stagger someone half my age. A dear friend of mine attempted to change her Part D (prescription plan). Three phone calls to the very same company, gave her three different answers for the cost of several prescription co-pays. Btw…if you don’t sign up at the designated time/age, you are penalized on your monthly premium forever.

  5. ObamaCare must be abolished. All copies burned in huge carbon emitting Bonfires of Absurdities and the ashes strewn to the four winds with the ground salted and turned under.

    This is the Obamination that must be repealed. Immediately. The next election is of epic scale. If Obama retains office…the Country as we now know is gone. The most important issue facing the electorate has to be abolishing the commitment to socialized medicine…the economy, energy, the national debt ALL are moot if ObamaCare is implemented. It won’t matter what is done with the later…the former will change the Country permanently.

    And to that I go back to my argument yesterday AGAINST Romney. He and his current advisors were the architects of RomneyCare which became, WITH THEIR ASSISTANCE, the blueprint for ObamaCare. Now…Romney has said he will repeal ObamaCare…but forgive me for questioning his resilience in that commitment. The Angels are literally dancing on the tip of the pen the repeal is signed with.

    I understand the Tenth Amendment…but I also understand what was written as an Op/Ed in USA Today in 2009 relative individual mandates and the impact of same on the “general good.”

    • Romney lied when he said he never endorsed a national health insurance mandate. Just like Obama, he uses subterfuge when asked about the videos and that op ed that prove otherwise. I don’t believe for a minute that he will work to pull Obamacare up by the roots, especially if it is found to be constitutional. I know if Obama is re-elected America won’t survive. It just scares me that the establishment chose the person who gave birth to this monstrosity to be their figurehead. I don’t trust the establishment any more than I trust the Marxists.

      • And there Susan is the absolute gist of the ABO/ABO.L (anybody but Obama/any body but ObamaLite–Romney) argument that I keep making. The establishment CHOSE Romney as “next” back in 2008…I could get all conspiratorial, New World Orderesque, but it’s pretty obvious the “choices” are the two sides of the same coin–the coin that subsidizes socialized medicine which permanently changes the United States as PLANNED.

        Romney is too tied into, too invested in ObamneyCare to be trusted when he says “I’ll repeal ObamaCare” when he helped orchestrate it.

        That’s why I don’t agree with, buy into the “Romney is the only one…who can…blah, blah, blah” argument. It’s just more manipilulation by TPTB and their media drones.

          • I don’t care what the Romney supporters think about my opinion. I’m not going to be a good little conformist and get behind someone I think is bad for this country. If he wins the nomination, I’ll vote for him, but I’m going to keep on fighting for anybody but Obamney until that time.

          • I am not a rabid Romney supporter, but I also don’t think he would be so bad. I will vote for him over Obama and hate to weaken him or whoever the nominee will be. I need Obama gone! We all do. America does. I also make no apology for my view.

        • MaryOhSo Contrary, why are so many people blind to the fact that Romney was already chosen by the establishment? Why are so many people blind to the obvious?

    • I gotta say, I got my problems with Santorum, but I don’t trust anything Romney says on Obamacare. His plan was the template. Some of the same people worked on both. He can say state vs federal all he wants, but it’s just a bunch of baloney.

  6. When buyers attempt to price shop the plans, they are left with “mind-boggling cost questions” that inhibit their ability to easily make accurate comparisons, according to Checkbook.

    Which is the point. The goal of this law is not to expand medical or even insurance coverage, but rather to make it so complex that people clamor for “simplification” of nationalizing health care. Then, the real work can begin…

    • Absolutely! They’re already beginning to put insurance companies out of business and employers to cancel their coverage. Next step is the exchanges.

    • My state of Washington is rushing to make life miserable for its residents by not only starting the ball rolling for exchanges but mandating all insurance providers cover voluntary abortions. Once insurance pays to kill the unborn, it will eventually be a requirement to cover the murders of those at the other end of life, the elderly. And as Washington State has also legalized “assisted suicide”, the writing on the wall could not be clearer..

  7. When I started to get sick, nearly three years ago, I had private insurance, and fairly good coverage. The company I worked for at the time had several different insurance plans that employees could choose from and weigh the costs of various plans against each other. Same was true when I worked for the government, we had several plans that you could choose from and do a side by side comparison. Depending on what you were willing to pay for co-pays, and how young and healthy you were, you could choose a plan that was inexpensive up front, but had higher co-pays and deductibles on the back end.

    Every year when it came time to renew your insurance we would get a print-out of the varied policies laid out side by side with costs, benefits, and coverage. It made it possible to look at your options with clarity and understand what you were buying. This was true in both sectors, public and private.

    With these exchanges you have to suffer through an almost unintelligible quagmire of information, only to come away feeling as though you just got hustled at a bad used car lot.

    Information, as they say is power, and the more confusing the information the less power the consumer has. I think that is a major part of the reason behind the entire exchange system. If the general public is unable to understand the information given to them via these exchanges they are more likely to say to heck with it, and turn to a public option for healthcare. This will bring about the long sought after national healthcare system.

    The confusion that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act brings to the consumer is actually ingenious. By making things so complicated for both the patient and physician a greater number of both will simply give up trying to understand all the regulations, rules, and policies and simply slip into the morass of public healthcare. If anything, you have to give the Progressives credit for devising a plan that will, via its complication, bring everyone to the Progressive end goal – socialized medicine.

  8. Doesn’t it seem odd that Obama spent his first 2 years touting ObamaCare holding his traveling road show townhalls–.but for the last 15 months, he has not said one word about his landmark achievement – not even in his SOTU address The silence is deafening! Can hardly wait to see Obama debate Romney …RomneyCare vs. ObamaCare! !

    • They should do it like the Medicare Supplementals–Those are set benefits in plans A through (I think) N. Most people select the array in Plan F. Each compaany offers the same A, the same B–but if they are more efficient, they an offer a lower price for A, or B…see how it works? You can compare. But if you just need a Medicare HMO (amusingly, Advantage), you need a broker to tell you what’s what–it becomes mindnumbingly complicated.

      • Star, I’m not sure what your experience with Medicare Advantage is but my own has been nothing short of wonderful. Everything…doctors, hospitals, meds…is covered under my Advantage plan and I don’t even have to show my Medicare card. It’s all billed directly to BC/BS.

        I went on Medicare last year. Had to make a trip to the ER after I fell. Total cost to me…$200. Any day you can get in and out of an emergency room for $200 is cause for celebration.

        Cost to me for coverage: $99.90 Medicare premium and $71.30 BC/BS Senior Blue Advantage premium.

      • I had Mutual of Omaha Plan F–and liked that, but it went to $150 a mo. I now have SCAN Advantage–they are OK so long as you don’t go much or use it–specialists are $35, which in Star World is a real deterrent to seeing a doc. Also they are a little pushy about getting in your face–want to send docs to your house, call you on your birthday to see if the cake made you sick or something…Also they send huge questionnaires about your health, but those are not required, so I toss them. Yet when I had a beef with a doc, they did not care. Scan is OK, though, there if I need it.

  9. The greatest Obama hypocrisy of all …. SUPPORT THE TROOPS ! Meanwhile, knee-capping our medical benefits as we watch our co-pays, deductibles, and premium payments SOAR for the past year.