ObamaCare is due to take full effect on January 1, 2014, marking the beginning of a new age in healthcare in the United States. A ‘Healthcare for all’ policy will require US citizens to purchase health insurance or else face a tax penalty. The individual mandate aims to expand health coverage by creating state health insurance exchanges, expanding Medacaid, and requiring most employers to off health insurance or also pay a fine. While preparation for the Healthcare Reform has proved a costly endeavour for States alone, October 1, 2013, marks the effective deadline for Health Insurance Exchanges. As the summer months continue to fly by, many have been left to consider whether or not the proposed schedule for US Healthcare Reform will be as absolute as first intended.
While divided opinion has resulted in some 17 States opting out of the Nationwide ‘Obamacare’ system in favour of their own Healthcare Exchange strategy, cost has proven itself to be the major factor hindering the projected time-frame of Healthcare Reform. The construction and implementation of data strategies, particularly data systems to determine eligibility for coverage, have not only taken time, but also required huge investments which must continue over the next 10 years if Healthcare Reform is to reach its target of 24 million people insured.
Delay after Delay
The announcement that the Obama administration had chosen to delay the employer mandate until 2015 has caused some concern as many begin to speculate whether or not this is the first of many delays. Research into Federal rules and reporting has been cited as the main consideration leading to this delay, but it begs the question of what sort of delays are to follow, casting doubt over the regimented scheduling of Healthcare Reform.
Probably the biggest challenge that has threatened the proposed October 1 deadline has been the lack of unanimous ambition among states across the US. With opinion divided on the expansion of Medacaid and many states opting to develop their own exchange, the rigid October 1 deadline has unwittingly grown more flexible. In order to accommodate the variety of inter-state interest, the intentionally rigid deadline will almost certainly be pushed back.
As January 2014 draws ever nearer, doubts about the proposed scheduling of Healthcare Reform, continue to surface. At this point in time it is hugely important to understand the policy of your state, the effects of the proposed legislation and what you and/or your employer can do to prepare for October 1.
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