News outlets also report that e-brokers cannot offer exchange plans right away, and that some people may try to use the online marketplaces to mislead consumers.
Politico: Exemptions Pose Another Big Hurdle For Obamacare
Think you’re exempt from Obamacare’s individual mandate? Good luck proving it. The health law’s least popular component — the requirement to obtain insurance or face a tax penalty — also features a lengthy list of exceptions for people facing certain hardships like foreclosure, domestic violence or homelessness. Members of certain religious sects or Native American tribes also are exempt (Chaney, 10/15).
Politico: Online Insurance Plan Brokers Must Wait
The federal agency in charge of the exchanges signed agreements this summer with several e-brokers to sell health plans in the 36 states where the feds are running the new individual marketplaces. But the online brokers, eager to tap into a new market of people who’ll qualify for federal subsidies, learned shortly before the Oct. 1 launch that they wouldn’t be able to offer exchange plans right away. The brokers say CMS didn’t act fast enough to let them integrate their websites with the IT systems supporting the federal insurance marketplaces. They hope to get everything linked up with the feds in the coming weeks (Millman, 10/14).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Regulators Say Some Insurance Brokers Mislead Those Seeking Subsidized Health Policies
This month’s glitch-filled rollout of the health insurance marketplaces created by federal law is a business opportunity for brokers and agents, but regulators warn that it also opened the door for those who would seek to line their pockets by misleading consumers. New Hampshire’s insurance commissioner sent a cease-and-desist letter last week to an Arizona company he accused of building a website to mislead health care shoppers into thinking it was the official marketplace. The site was taken down Friday (10/14).
The Wall Street Journal: Health Law Stirs Up Lending
Small businesses are griping that the new U.S. health-care law is difficult to understand. Now some may have another complaint: If they don't have a handle on the law's cost and impact, they may have a harder time getting a loan. To qualify for some loans, especially for growth capital, more companies are being required to provide assurances that they will be in compliance with the Affordable Care Act by 2015. The law will require businesses with 50 or more full-time employees to offer health insurance to their full-timers or face penalties (Murphy, 10/14).