Having a Baby? HealthCare.gov is Not Ready

by Vanessa Jones on  January 7, 2014 at 11:31 AM Health Insurance News
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The Affordable Care Act officials are frankly telling new enrollees that the federal marketplace is not yet prepared for covering new born babies.
 Having a Baby? HealthCare.gov is Not Ready
Having a Baby? HealthCare.gov is Not Ready

Parents need to contact the insurer directly and the government later on as the federal marketplace cannot update their coverage online. The function that prevents people from entering in a newborn pertains to the computerized "change in circumstance" feature. It was supposed to have been part of the federal system from the start.

This feature got postponed with other technical problems taking precedence. "It's just another example of `We'll fix that later,"' said Bob Laszewski, an industry consultant who said he's gotten complaints from several insurer clients. "This needed to be done well before January. It's sort of a fly-by-night approach."

"We are currently working with insurers to find ways to make changing coverage easier while we develop an automated way for consumers to update their coverage directly," responded an administration spokesman, Aaron Albright. A new born is not the only issue which is unresolved but includes marriage, divorce, and a death in the family, a change of job or even moving to a different community.

The Government says the Federal insurance marketplace will add children at a later date but is unsure as to when this would happen. The federal marketplace serves 36 states through HealthCare.gov and call centers. The Medicare agency, which runs the government's other major health programs, is also responsible for expanded coverage under Obama's law. Parents of new born babies are asked to contact their insurer to include their child in their policy for 30 days. After which the government can bring the records up to date. With a baby in the family, monthly premiums would increase but at the same time it would also mean that the parents were eligible for a higher tax credit which could help with the increased cost. Sometimes the family and the child could become eligible for Medicaid for low income beneficiaries.

At least 2 million people have signed up for private health policies through new government markets under President Barack Obama's overhaul. Coverage started Wednesday, and so far things appear to be running fairly smoothly, although it may take time for problems to bubble up. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius calls it "a new day in health care" for millions of Americans. In West Virginia there was a glitch when almost 18,000 people were trying to sign up through HealthCare.gov and their files were sent to state officials. Now many of these people have received letters to sign up again for Medicaid. Others were asked to sign up again at HealthCare.gov.

Perry Bryant, director of West Virginians for Affordable Health Care, told the newspaper that "these people played by the rules" and, because of a glitch, now have a "gap in coverage."


Hannah Punitha (IRDA Licence Number: 2710062)


Source: Medindia

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