Affordable Care Act (ACA) a.k.a. Obamacare
The Affordable Care Act (more commonly known as “Obamacare”) is a sweeping healthcare reform law passed by Congress in 2010. Its intent was to improve the methods in which people can obtain and keep healthcare coverage. It set out to accomplish three main goals:
- Increase access to health insurance.
- Reduce health insurance costs.
- Improve the ways that people can obtain healthcare.
The goals were lofty, and getting one out of three isn’t bad. But why aren’t more people buying health insurance as a result?
Top 4 Reasons Why People Aren’t Buying into the Affordable Care Act
- Affordability – Plain and simple, it didn’t make things affordable. If you’re healthy, coverage is flat-out expensive. Meanwhile, it’s very inexpensive for those with serious pre-existing health conditions. This disparity skews the risk pool.
- Agents could not properly assist customers. – It can be argued that Congress completely blew it here. Coverage plans and rates were presented way too late, when they should have been made available for analysis at least a year before the ACA was signed into law. Many health insurance agents saw these problems coming from a mile away. How could we sell a product when we had no idea what the rates would be or what the health plans would cover?
- Consumers were caught off-guard. – Very few consumers had the attention span necessary to understand all the complicated changes to the healthcare process. Large segments of the population had never purchased health insurance before, as adequate coverage ranks low on the average consumer’s priority list. Any given day you are likely to encounter a $40,000 vehicle driven by an individual who has no health insurance. These problems were further complicated when the Healthcare.gov website had major accessibility flaws and agents were unable to provide assistance to customers.
- Unrealistic expectations – There was an irreconcilable disparity between what consumers were expecting and what was actually delivered. Many consumers were expecting something similar to traditional health care plans that used to exist five-six years ago, with features such as: covered doctor visits, low deductibles, wide choice of doctors and hospitals and no (or small) out-of-pocket costs. The reality was far different, as the ideal coverage plans were too expensive for many consumers. What remained affordable were high-deductible plans that would force consumers to completely change their approaches to healthcare. This was no easy task after health insurance have remained largely unchanged for over 50 years.
On the positive side, the Affordable Care Act provides us with a tool and method with which we can begin to repair our health care system.