After the rocky rollout last fall of the ObamaCare website, the administration wants to re-enroll those already in the system in hopes of avoiding another technological embarrassment.
But analysts warn that just blindly re-enrolling could mean trouble for consumers.
“This notion of just sit back and re-enroll is really misleading and I think could cause a lot of harm to people,” said Bob Laszewski of Health Policy and Strategy Associates.
“The automatic renewal, it’s easy, it will keep people getting ObamaCare,” added Rosemary Gibson of the Hastings Center. “But you have to trust but verify. You have to go look. You just can’t be on automatic pilot for health insurance.”
That’s because of the way subsidies are determined. They’re pegged to the cost of the second lowest silver level plan, but that cost is likely to change and with it, the subsidy a consumer would get.
“Everyone’s going to have differences in their subsidies,” Laszewski said. “The vast majority really probably need to change plans in order to continue with the same out of pocket premium. And they’re not going to know if their premium has changed unless they go in and re-enroll.”
Said Gibson, “What’s the different costs and what are the different benefits? Have they upgraded the benefits? Or, have they dropped providers in this case of health care, out of the network?”
Jim Capretta of the Ethics and Public Policy Center noted that “a lot of people aren’t even clear yet whether their physician or the services they typically need will be covered by the plans they’ve been given through the exchanges. So if they’re automatically enrolled in perhaps a subpar plan for their needs, that doesn’t really help them going into 2015.”
In addition, there is always the question of which doctors and hospitals are included in any given plan.
Health economist John Goodman explained, “And those networks leave out the best doctors, they leave out the best hospitals, a lot of those plans charge you extra if you need an expensive drug for your cancer treatment, for example.”
Jim Angle currently serves as chief national correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC). He joined FNC in 1996 as a senior White House correspondent.