Consumer Choice

Since the word on the street is that the Supremes will decide on this law by the end of June for sure – I am making a concerted effort to finish going through it before then.

Section 1312 is entitles Consumer Choice. Since one of the criticisms of this law is that it removes Consumer Choice – by forcing people to buy health insurance – let’s see what this section actually says.

The first part says that qualified individuals (defined below) may by qualified health care plans and that qualified employers (defined below) can provide qualified health plans. Those individuals can then pay the premiums. Oh boy.

All people who purchase individual insurance are considered part of a single risk pool. All people in the Small Group Market are part of a single risk pool. States can require that these plans be merged.

These Exchanges don’t prohibit individual insurance from being offered outside the Exchange and they don’t change what States already require to be offered.

It states then that the Exchanges are voluntary. No person has to participate in the Exchange. No person is compelled to purchase a qualified health plan. Unless you are a member of Congress. Members of Congress (and their staff) must purchase plans that are created by the PPACA, or are in an Exchange. Which of course leads me to the question – does this imply that members of Congress are not people?

There are no fees imposed if people choose minimum essential coverage outside of the Exchange. It creates brokers and agents to facilitate enrollment in the Exchanges.

Qualified individuals are people seeking insurance who are residents of the State they are seeking insurance in. Those people in prison or jail don’t count. Qualified employers are small employers who to choose to allow their employees to have access to the insurance plans in the Exchange. In 2017 the Exchanges are opened to large employers. You must be a citizen or lawful resident to participate in the Exchanges.

We still haven’t gotten to the fee portion of the PPACA – that will be exciting when we do.

Section 1313 relates to Financial Integrity of the Exchanges. They will keep receipts! They will be subject to investigations! Audits! If they are bad, the Feds will take away their allowance. (No really – they will reduce the payments they are eligible for under this Act). There will be GAO oversight about operations, administration, utilization, improvements, cost and affordability, and access.

We are 10% done! With 13 posts. You may end up seeing more than one a day as we get to the end. But onward!

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