April 2, 2014 by Tony Novak
Is the 7 million+ Obamacare enrollment figure publicized yesterday by HHS and the White House an April fools joke? The serious side of this question is that any enrollment system that does not accept payment at signing runs the risk of not becoming a legal contract. That means applicants can drag their feet and may or may not actually pay for a policy. Experienced benefits industry professionals have written that this will shrink actual enrollments by 10% to 20%. Additionally, we know that open enrollment opens again this fall for 2015 coverage. Individuals short on cash and without ongoing medical expenses will be tempted to drop coverage mid-year and then re-enroll later if necessary. As long as the penalty is substantially less than the cost of coverage, this will be a real problem.