It has been a very difficult and challenging enrollment period for many of my clients – for several reasons:
- The failure of Health Republic has forced clients to change plans twice – once for December 1, and then look at all new plans for January 1.
- OSCAR Healthplans no longer covers New York Presbyterian, Weill-Cornell Medical Centers, and NY Methodist Hospital centers.
- Oxford has introduced their new Network- Oxford Metro – a smaller network, required on individual plans beginning January 1.
The Oxford Metro Plan seems to have been ignored by physicians initially, and so now many are scrambling to join after hearing from their patients that they will have to leave.
Brokers are suddenly backing away from doing individual sales. Why? Health Republic has also not paid commissions to brokers. OSCAR just reduced the monthly commissions to brokers to $6/month – not enough to cover the time and work to enroll you, nevermind providing service during the year. Broker commissions have been cut more than in half the last few years.
And with more than 7.5 million uninsured, I would have expected more demand from those previously uninsured – but we are not really seeing a big rush this year, possibly because of the large rate increases.
Meanwhile, even the authors of the PPACA now have the Cadillac Tax in their sites for elimination. Both Reid and Pelosi now look to repeal the tax – mostly because of the enormous objections of unions around the country – their negotiated benefits would be in danger beginning in 2018.
The Supreme Court of the United States has agreed to hear another challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s birth control mandate. It’s the fourth time a provision of the ACA will be considered by the Supreme Court and follows the controversial ruling in last year’s closely watched Hobby Lobby case.
With 3 weeks left in the open enrollment season for 2016 coverage, we continue to guide as many people as we can, and can only wonder what the future brings.