Obamacare Will Become Reality: What Does it Mean for You?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Obamacare Will Become Reality: What Does it Mean for You?

Despite uncertainty surrounding the fiscal cliff and whether or not President Obama can make "compromise" a theme of his second term, one thing is for certain: Obamacare is going to take effect. The lion's share of the law is to be implemented on January 1, 2014. The major tenets that will impact the insured include the individual mandate and the pre-existing conditions clause that will not allow insurers to refuse coverage to anyone, even if they are in poor health.
Obamacare
What does this all mean for the broader health care industry (XLV)? To answer that, Breakout welcomed Les Funtleyder, President of Investment Advisory at Poliwogg. He admits that "the next 13 months are gonna be a flurry of activity" as States, insurers and the insured prepare for the law to be fully enacted. Still, he's not sure January 1, 2014 is a hard-and-fast date, citing a recent delay in the deadline for states to tell Washington whether they want in on the federal plan or if they plan to handle it on the state level. Funtleyder admits "the fighting is far from over but there are very limited avenues for Congress, particularly the House, to make changes. They can delay, but I don't think they can delay infinitely."
Whether or not the date is January 1 or July 12, Funtleyder says change is coming and the industry is getting ready. With more patients due to flood the system, he believes hospitals and insurers alike will undoubtedly increase their marketing to attract new customers.
And once the law actually goes into effect it's the pre-existing conditions provision that has the potential to do a lot of damage to the consumer, according to Funtleyder. He says it is "likely insurance companies will raise premiums on everybody, given the mandate, to deal with the number of pre-existing conditions that come into the fold." And that is one of the many key criticisms of the plan: little to no direct cost control. As it stands, the bill has only one such feature, namely the so-called "death panels" which put bureaucrats in charge of certain health care decisions.
Funtleyder says that particular feature is widely disliked on both sides of the political aisle, making it a reasonable assumption that the "death panels" could be repealed. If that happens, he argues there will be no mechanism at all to control costs.
Do you think Obamacare will save you money, or are you saving up for a higher insurance bill?
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