Obama claimed Friday that 7.5 million people have enrolled in exchange coverage. In fact, perhaps 20 percent haven’t paid their first premium and therefore aren’t covered, according to estimates by RAND Corp. and Goldman Sachs.
The bigger question is how many will keep paying premiums. That’s got the American Medical Association, a chief ObamaCare booster, so worried that it’s sending warnings to its members.
Why the concern? First-time insurance purchasers, especially those living paycheck to paycheck, will be shocked by ObamaCare’s high deductibles, about $3,000 for the silver plan (the most commonly selected) and $5,000 for the bronze plan (the most affordable).
Basically, you’ll have to pay thousands out of pocket for appointments, tests and prescriptions until you reach your deductible.
Millennials who heard Obama say on “Between Two Ferns” that they can buy a health plan for the price of a cellphone contract won’t be laughing when they realize what the $5,000 deductible means. (It’s like a cellphone contract that makes you pay $5 a text for your first thousand texts.) Rather than pay thousands out of pocket for care while also paying premiums, some will quit paying premiums.
That’s why the AMA is worried. Section 1412 of the health law gives consumers a 90-day “grace period” before their subsidized plan is canceled for nonpayment. But insurers only have to keep paying doctors and hospitals for 30 days. The next 60 days of care are on the care provider. The AMA says “it could pose a significant financial risk for medical practices.”