“Medical and Dental Insurance – not ObamaCare”

I saw this sign, coming out of the Lowes the other day and it go me thinking – about all the things wrong with this simple sign.  On the surface it seems benign – This guy can get you coverage for medical insurance that is not ObamaCare.  However it really highlights one of the big problems with the current level of public knowledge.    Lets have a look:

1)  The sign implies that ObamaCare is a type of health insurance.  Now, many people believe this, and they are all misinformed.  “Obamacare” – AKA The Affordable Care Act – is simply a set of regulations.  It governs who can get insurance, when they can get it, sets minimum standards for that insurance coverage, and prescribes penalties for those that do not have coverage, or employers that fail to offer it.

2)  So what kind of coverage can this person get you, if its “not ObamaCare?”  It would have to be less than the Minimum Essential Benefit (MEB) level prescribed in the law.  That means two things – First, the coverage is not going to be very good or comprehensive.  Second, since it does not meet the MEB rules, you have now bought insurance that isn’t adequate AND you will still be fined for not having the MEB level of coverage.

3)  But wait, there’s more.  Most people who would be attracted to this sign will be interested because they cannot afford regular insurance.  It is unlikely that this person is going to tell them about the subsidies available in the Marketplace, or the expanded Medicaid coverage available in many states.  In fact, 87% of those that enrolled last year on the exchange were uninsured prior, and 70% of them are paying less than $100 a month for coverage (after the subsidy).

The sad truth is the law is complicated, so people are confused, and that is a breeding ground for shysters to take advantage of them.  There is no substitute for getting professional guidance.