Summary: A new and improved simplified version of the application for health insurance benefits under Obamacare aka Healthcare Reform is due to be released. Obamacare simplification – is that an oxymoron like jumbo shrimp?
The original version of the application for health insurance benefits under Healthcare Reform was so long (21 pages) and so complex, the average American would have had an extremely difficult time completing the form. The original application had been compared to completing annual tax forms or the Healthcare Reform itself (900 + page document with provisions becoming effective from 2010 through 2015). The form is being shortened and simplified down to 3 pages. Finally there is a document the average American may be able to understand.
It is important to tailor documentation to the audience of highest majority. Those applying for insurance through the health insurance exchanges are likely to be unemployed and/or from lower income brackets and/or with less education. The health insurance exchanges will provide marketplaces in which to purchase insurance. Simplifying the application form is a wonderful step in the right direction. If the forms are too complex, many Americans will just opt not to complete or at least weigh the option of not completing and taking the penalty or trying to muster their way through the form.
There still will be complexities with the forms. Whereas previous applications were more heavily weighted toward health questions, the new applications will have a large financial component. Applicants will have to provide proof of income in the form of tax returns, pay stubs and other financial validation. These financial means will be used to determine whether the applicant qualifies for government subsidies. Individuals who earn less than four times the federal poverty level will be eligible for financial assistance. A caveat should be inserted here. If you underestimate your income, you may have to pay back a portion of the subsidy. The overages/shortages will become part of the annual tax return process.
The simplification process is definitely a step in the right direction. While no document or process is perfect, hopefully, this will provide more opportunity for individuals to be covered for health insurance. Another hurdle which may come to light is the application process itself. The plan is to have applications online. While online is a terrific time saver and reduces physical paperwork, not all Americans are computer savvy and/or can afford computers. Hopefully, there will be either a paper process to encourage those who aren’t comfortable with computers or, at a bare minimum, access to assistance via physical kiosks or phone.
About BHM Healthcare Solutions
BHM is a healthcare management consulting firm whose specialty is optimizing profitability while improving care in a variety of health care settings. BHM has worked both nationally and internationally with managed care organizations, providers, hospitals, and insurers. In addition to this BHM offers a wide breadth of services ranging including managed care consulting, strategic planning and organizational analysis, accreditation consulting, healthcare financial analysis, physician advisor/peer review, and organizational development.
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