As we move closer to the major implementation date for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), we seem to be in the eye of the storm right now.
Why do I feel this way? Yesterday in Madison, I participated in a meeting with the legislative representatives from the Insurance Commissioner’s Office (OCI). This group meets weekly with the Governor’s office and conducts weekly phone conferences with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Their job is to get specific answers on the implementation of the Exchange here in Wisconsin. My goal was go get some answers from him in order to provide updates to my clients living in Northeast Wisconsin.
I assumed there’s a lot going on behind the scenes in Washington and Madison that none of us are hearing about. Guess what? There isn’t.
For health insurance brokers like me, it has been a season of hurry up and wait. Part of the reason is Washington has been busy with sequestration talks, making Healthcare Reform progress elusive. The OCI is waiting for the insurance carriers to file their rates for the new Exchange (they have until April 30), and according to OCI, they probably won’t receive those filings until the 11th hour on April 30.
So although more major dates are looming in the future, as long as OCI has to wait, insurance carriers will guard their rate filings, we (brokers/consultants) will need to hurry up and wait as well. Sadly, that means that you, the consumer, who are anxious for answers will not know anything any time soon.
The biggest question is beginning to loom on the horizon: Will the Federally-run individual insurance exchange, here in Wisconsin, be “open” and ready for business (via on-line) on October 1, for a January 1 effective date? I’m not a betting person, but maybe you are. Do you think an online exchange will happen by time we ring in the New Year in 2014?