Statist Disaster Update: Hundreds Of Thousands Of VA Electronic Disability Claims Go Unprocessed

Hundreds Of Thousands Of VA Electronic Disability Claims Not Processed – Nextgov

Hundreds of thousands of disability claims filed with the Department of Veterans Affairs’ eBenefits portal launched in February 2013 are incomplete and could start to expire this month, Nextgov has learned.

.
…………

.
VA Undersecretary for Benefits Allison Hickey touted the new portal in June 2013 as simple as filing taxes online and a way to whittle down the claims backlog.

“Veterans can now file their claims online through eBenefits like they might do their taxes online,” she said, including the documentation needed for a fully developed claim in cooperation with Veterans Service Organizations, or VSOs, such as the American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Gerald Manar, deputy director of the National Veterans Service at VFW, told Nextgov the Veterans Benefits Administration on June 26 briefed VSOs on problems with the eBenefits portal, including the fact that only 72,000 claims filed through eBenefits have been completed and approved since last June, with another 228,000 incomplete.

VA spokeswoman Meagan Lutz said since February 2013, just over 445,000 online applications have been initiated. Of those, approximately 70,000 compensation claims have been submitted and another 70,000 nonrating (add a dependent, etc.) have been submitted, leaving a total of 300,000 incomplete claims. Because a number of claims started are more than 365 days old, they have now expired, totaling an estimated 230,000 unprocessed claims.

Manar said he still is trying to understand why so many vets did not complete their online claims and whether they opted to file a paper claim. Lutz said an important element of the electronic claim submission process is the ability for veterans to start a claim online with limited information to hold a date of claim, while simultaneously providing 365 days to collect data, treatment records and other related information.

Lutz said a veteran simply hits “save” and any information provided is saved in temporary tables. During that 365-day period, a veteran may add additional data or upload documents associated with that specific claim. At any point during that timeframe, a veteran can hit the “submit” button and a claim will be automatically established within the Veterans Benefits Management System, designed to entirely automate claims processing by next year, and documents will be uploaded to the veteran’s e-folder.

Claims submitted in eBenefits may be incomplete because “many users can potentially start a claim as part of their exploration of the system… The VA eBenefits team has no way of actually knowing which claims that might be started within eBenefits are valid and or have been abandoned for any number of reasons

After 365 days, Lutz said, the data is made inaccessible and the initiated claim date is removed from the system. The system was designed to provide the veteran as much flexibility as possible in preserving that start date as well as support the Fully Developed Claim initiative, which gives the veteran the opportunity to accrue additional benefits for providing all the data needed to rate the claim.

Lutz said if vets try to submit electronically hundreds of documents, such as PDFs of medical records, “that volume of documents makes electronic submission very difficult, and we always recommend that they work with a Veterans Service Organization, as the VSOs have the expertise to ensure that the right information is gathered and submitted.”

VSOs have little visibility into the claims filed to date through the eBenefits portal because of design problems with the information technology system set up, the Stakeholder Enterprise Portal, Manar said. That portal only allows for broad searches for claims at the state and the VBA regional office level, and limits any search to 1,000 claims. If the search results in more than 1,000 records, SEP returns a message that the system is not available, rather than the search went over the 1,000 file limit, Manar said.

SEP is also not set up to notify VSOs when a claim is filed through eBenefits, nor does it provide alerts when claims are due to expire, Manar said and urged VA to fix SEP to provide such notifications.

SEP, Manar said, was not “well thought-out” when fielded and “the whole system was not ready for prime time.”

Lutz said VA SEP design team is working as quickly as possible to help VSOs to review more than 1,000 files in SEP without getting an incorrect error message.

She said VA plans a new release of SEP this month to VSOs, which will allow VSOs to submit claims directly to VBMS for veterans who hold power of attorney. This update would eliminate the need for the veteran to submit from the eBenefits portal.

“This, we believe, will be a major milestone in the VSO community that will accelerate acceptance of the electronic process,” Lutz said.

.

.

Leftist Nightmare Update: HHS Document Reveals Scope Of Obamacare Rollout Disaster

HHS Document Reveals Scope Of Obamacare Rollout Disaster – Big Government

Type “Obamacare rollout disaster” into the Google search engine, and you get approximately 290,000 results, most of them dating back to the days immediately following the catastrophic October 2013 launch of Healthcare.gov.

.

.
Significantly, however, the most recent results focus on the Judicial Watch release on May 19, 2014. That’s the date Judicial Watch released a 106-page document we obtained on May 1 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that reveals the shocking details of the rollout disaster.

Though the Obama administration tried to cover up the full extent of the website failure in the days following its launch, the lengthy HHS document tells a tale of complete collapse. It was forced out of this secretive administration by our November 25, 2013, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit. Judicial Watch filed suit after HHS refused to respond to our October 7, 2013, FOIA request seeking the following information:

Any and all records concerning, regarding, or related to the number of individuals that purchased health insurance through Healthcare.gov between October 1, 2013, and October 4, 2013.

A simple request – that was stonewalled for over six months. Now we know why. This document shows that, on its first full day of operation, October 1, 2013, Obamacare’s Healthcare.gov received only one enrollment! That’s one – out of 334 million Americans. On the second day, 48% of registrations failed to process.

The Affordable Health Care Act website immediately encountered massive problems typical of those reported by the Chicago Tribune: “Consumers seeking more information on their new options under the Affordable Care Act were met with long delays, error messages and a largely non-working federal insurance exchange and call center Tuesday morning.” Late-night comedian Jay Leno joked that Americans were getting carpal tunnel syndrome trying to get through to register.

Pressed for an explanation in a conference call with reporters on Obamacare’s opening day, Marilyn Tavenner, head of the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, refused to disclose the number of people who had purchased insurance through the site saying, “We have just decided not to release that yet.”

The full extent of the failure, however, is reflected in the details provided by the Judicial Watch FOIA document revelations. They include:

On October 1, there were 43,208 accounts created and 1 enrollment.

As of October 31, 2013, there were 1,319,425 accounts created nationwide – but only 30,512 actual enrollments in Obamacare.

On October 1, 2013, at the end of the first day (4:30), the Senior Advisor at Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Brigid M. Russell, sent out an email to her staff with a subject line celebrating “2 enrollments!” The body copy of the email read: “We have our second official FFM enrollment! The first two Form 834s sent out are to: 1) CareSource in Ohio, 2) BCBS of North Carolina.

Official figures contained in the HHS report provide conflicting figures as to the number of enrollments. FFM [Federally Facilitated Marketplace] statistics show 23,259 cumulative to-date applications submitted as of 10/2/13 and 286 completed plan selections. Earlier numbers show 356 enrollments created as of 7pm on 10/2/13 that were completed with Form 834s sent.

An October 2, 2013, email from HHS Special Assistant Marianne Bowen indicated serious problems with congressional enrollments: “The Congressional issue (68 attempts for Direct enrollment) was an issue stemming from incomplete applications being sent through (started, not finished, sent anyway) and the way the issuers are assigning unique numbers. Turns out there were only 4 complete Direct Enrollment applications that went through, the other 64 were not complete.” [The U.S. Congress has approximately 24,000 professional staffers.]

On October 2, 2013, the Obamacare website had 70 million page views but only 5 million were unique visitors, and 48% of registrations failed. The large number of page views may have been the result of visitors repeatedly hitting the “refresh” button due to long waiting times.

Judicial Watch was able to get information through FOIA that no one else had gotten – in this case, the specifics about the unmitigated failure of Healthcare.gov. The Obama administration tried to cover this up and Congress failed to follow through. Imagine what would have happened to Obamacare if the American people knew that only one person was able to enroll on its first day? And imagine what will happen when the full truth is finally revealed about what other Obamacare failures President Obama is hiding.

Even after it became clear that the Healthcare.gov website had failed to perform, the Obama administration continued putting out bogus figures touting its success. On April 17, Obama boasted that eight million people had signed up for health insurance on Healthcare.gov. But, that figure appears to have been massively over-inflated. According to testimony in May by the America’s Health Insurance Plans association before the House Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Oversight, “Because of the challenges that surfaced with the launch of the Exchanges in October 2013, some consumers were advised to create a new account and enroll again. As a result, insurers have many duplicate enrollments in their system for which they never received any payment.”

In addition to our FOIA lawsuit to obtain rollout enrollment figures, on March 27, 2014, we filed a FOIA lawsuit against the HHS for records regarding the testing and oversight of the Obama administration’s error-filled “834” reporting forms. Form 834 is an electronic file sent from HealthCare.gov to an insurance company after a consumer picks a health care coverage plan. An inaccurate 834 form may result in consumers either not having coverage, or being turned down for payment claims. It has been estimated that as many as 33 percent of the 834 forms for enrollees in the federal health care website may have been inaccurate, incomplete, or missing altogether.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

.

Obamacare Disaster Update: More Than 160 Million Americans Could Lose Their Health Insurance In 2014

More Than 160M Could Lose Insurance In 2014 – Sweetness & Light

.
……….

From Fox News:

Almost 80 million with employer health care plans could have coverage canceled, experts predict

By Jim Angle | November 25, 2013

Almost 80 million people with employer health plans could find their coverage canceled because they are not compliant with ObamaCare, several experts predicted. Their losses would be in addition to the millions who found their individual coverage cancelled for the same reason.

Stan Veuger of the American Enterprise Institute said that in addition to the individual cancellations, “at least half the people on employer plans would by 2014 start losing plans as well.” There are approximately 157 million employer health care policy holders.

Avik Roy of the Manhattan Institute added, “the administration estimated that approximately 78 million Americans with employer sponsored insurance would lose their existing coverage due to the Affordable Care Act.”

Once again, it has to be pointed out that most insurance policies cover more than one person. So these 80 million cancelled policies could mean that more than 160 million people will lose their insurance coverage. And 160 million people is a lot of votes. (Obama beat Romney by less than 5 million votes.)

Last week, an analysis by the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, showed the administration anticipates half to two-thirds of small businesses would have policies canceled or be compelled to send workers onto the ObamaCare exchanges. They predicted up to 100 million small and large business policies could be canceled next year.

According to projections the administration itself issued back in July 2010, it was clear officials knew the impact of ObamaCare three years ago. In fact, according to the Federal Register, its mid-range estimate was that by the end of 2014, 76 percent of small group plans would be cancelled, along with 55 percent of large employer plans.

The reason behind the losses is that current plans don’t meet the requirements of ObamaCare, which dictate that each plan must cover a list of essential benefits, whether people want them or not…

And it’s better that people have no insurance at all, than plans that don’t provide ‘free’ breast pumps.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

.
——————————————————————————————————————————–
.

Related article:

.

Top US Hospital Laying Off Staff Due To Obamacare – Daily Caller

The Cleveland Clinic, which is ranked among the top four U.S. hospitals, is making layoffs and cutting its budget more than $100 million as a direct result of the Affordable Care Act, the Daily Caller has learned.

“The cuts for 2014, about half of those are related to the Affordable Care Act… We anticipate a reduction in workforce,” Cleveland Clinic executive director of communications Eileen Sheil said in an interview with TheDC.

The Cleveland Clinic is reducing its 2014 budget by $330 million.

“We offered early retirement to 3,000 employees,” Sheil said, but noted that the early retirement option recently offered to staff was “voluntary” for eligible employees.

“The $330 million cut is not all layoffs,” Sheil said, noting that the Clinic is also cutting operating-room expenses and paying less to vendors.

“We’re taking money out of vendors, renegotiating contracts, looking at where we can reduce duplications, improve supply chain efficiencies… how we can scale back and use less. How we can take costs out of our operating rooms,” Sheil said.

“We were able to take 23 percent out of common operations procedure by doing things more efficiently,” Shiel said.

The Cleveland Clinic is a Top 4 U.S. hospital for 2013-2014, according to U.S. News and World Report rankings. In 2008, Clinic surgeons performed the nation’s first near-total face transplant.

TheDC has extensively reported on Obamacare’s effect on hospitals, including hefty fines and other penalties facing nonprofit hospitals like the one that treated the final Boston Marathon bombing victim.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

.
——————————————————————————————————————————–
.

Republicans Got It Right About Obamacare: 5 Predictions That Turned Out To Be True – John Hawkins

Republicans Got It Right About Obamacare: 5 Predictions That Turned Out To Be True

Republicans were right about Obamacare and Democrats were wrong. Before Obamacare was passed, when Democrats were telling the public that it would make health care cheaper, better, and would cure cancer right after it makes your bed in the morning and cuts your grass, Republicans were pointing out the very flaws that the American people are bitterly complaining about today. This is why we’re not going to help the Democrats “fix” Obamacare. The fact of the matter is that we’ve been right every step of the way so far and what we’re telling people is that the worst is yet to come. The only real way to “fix” this law is to repeal it. The people telling you that are the ones who pointed out all of these problems that the Democrats lied about and missed like…

1) The cost of insurance will go up: “There is nothing in the House or Senate bills that will enable Americans to have the kind of cost control that the President is promising. No matter how you look at this, health care costs both for individuals and for the country as a whole are going to increase.” – Senior Fellow for Health Policy Studies at Heritage, Robert Moffit in 2009

2) People will lose their jobs or be cut back to part-time because of Obamacare: “Additional taxes on employers and new government mandates that dictate acceptable insurance will place new and crushing burdens on employers. These are burdens that will ultimately fall squarely on the backs of workers in the form of reduced wages, fewer hours or lost employment. CBO agrees that ‘[e]mployees largely bear the cost of… play-or-pay fees in the form of lower wages.’ According to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the nation’s largest small business association, an employer mandate of this magnitude will disproportionately impact small businesses, triggering up to 1.6 million lost jobs. Two-thirds of those jobs would be shed by small businesses.” – House Majority Leader John Boehner in 2009

3) More Americans will lose their health insurance because of Obamacare than will be covered by the law: “This new regulation appears to ignore the impact it will have in the real world. It’ll drive up costs and reduce the number of people who will have insurance.” – Republican Senator Mike Enzi, 2010

4) “If you like your doctor, you keep your doctor” was a lie: “Remember when the president said, ‘If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor’? Not true. In Texas alone a record number of doctors are leaving the Medicare system because of the cuts in reimbursements forced on them by Obamacare.” – Former governor and vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin in 2010

5)”If you like your plan, you can keep it” was a lie: “The District of Columbia is an island surrounded by reality. Only in the District of Columbia could you get away with telling the people if you like what you have you can keep it, and then pass regulations six months later that do just the opposite and figure that people are going to ignore it. But common sense is eventually going to prevail in this town and common sense is going to have to prevail on this piece of legislation as well.” – Republican Senator Chuck Grassley in 2010

These are just five examples of what most conservatives thought would happen with Obamacare and we were spot on. In fact, conservatives predicted every problem with Obamacare other than the utter and complete failure of the website, which if anything shows that we may have given Obama too much credit. What should really scare you is that the same people who got so much right about the bill so far are predicting tens of millions of Americans will lose their plans when the employer mandate comes online and there will be death panels, doctor shortages, a dramatic decline in the quality of care, and massive cost increases that will dwarf anything we’ve seen so far, even though tens of millions of Americans still will remain uninsured under the law.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

.
——————————————————————————————————————————–
.

Over 600 Hardware And Software Defects In ObamaCare Exchange; ‘The Longest List Anybody Had Ever Seen’ – Fox Nation

On a sultry day in late August, a dozen staff members of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services gathered at the agency’s Baltimore headquarters with managers from the major contractors building HealthCare.gov to review numerous problems with President’s Obama’s online health insurance initiative. The mood was grim.

The prime contractor, CGI Federal, had long before concluded that the administration was blindly enamored of an unrealistic goal: creating a cutting-edge website that would use the latest technologies to dazzle consumers with its many features. Knowing how long it would take to complete and test the software, the company’s officials and other vendors believed that it was impossible to open a fully functioning exchange on Oct. 1…

An initial assessment identified more than 600 hardware and software defects – “the longest list anybody had ever seen,” one person involved with the project said.

Read more at nytimes.com

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

.
——————————————————————————————————————————–
.

Related article:

.
27 Democratic Senators Who Promised You Could Keep Your Health Coverage – Byron York

President Obama has taken a lot of heat for promising that if Americans liked the health coverage that they had before Obamacare, they would be able to keep it under the new law. But the president wasn’t the only Democrat in Washington who made that false promise. Many, many other Democratic officeholders said the same thing.

In fact, the keep-your-coverage pledge was key to some Democrats’ decision to support the Affordable Care Act. For example, when the bill was being debated, New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said, “[A] requirement that I have for supporting a bill is that if you have health coverage that you like you should be able to keep that.” For many Democrats, the keep-your-coverage pledge was not a throwaway line; it was a fundamental part of their case for Obamacare.

How many Democrats made the promise? There’s no comprehensive list of all of them, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office has compiled a list of 27 Democratic senators who pledged that Americans could keep their coverage under Obamacare. The list includes the entire Democratic leadership in the Senate as well as Democrats facing tough re-election races in 2014, like Mary Landrieu, Mark Begich, and Kay Hagan. Here is that list, compiled by McConnell’s office:

SEN. HARRY REID (D-Nev.): “In fact, one of our core principles is that if you like the health care you have, you can keep it.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.8642, 8/3/09)

SEN. RICHARD DURBIN: “We believe – and we stand by this – if you like your current health insurance plan, you will be able to keep it, plain and simple, straightforward.” (Sen. Durbin, Congressional Record, S.6401, 6/10/09)

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): “If you like your insurance, you keep it.” (U.S. Senate, Finance Committee, Bill Mark-Up, 9/29/09)

SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D-Wash.): “Again, if you like what you have, you will be able to keep it. Let me say this again: If you like what you have, when our legislation is passed and signed by the President, you will be able to keep it.” (Sen. Murray, Congressional Record, S.6400, 6/10/09)

SEN. MAX BAUCUS (D-Mont.): “That is why one of the central promises of health care reform has been and is: If you like what you have, you can keep it. That is critically important. If a person has a plan, and he or she likes it, he or she can keep it.” (Sen. Baucus, Congressional Record, S.7676, 9/29/10)

SEN. TOM HARKIN (D-Iowa): “One of the things we put in the health care bill when we designed it was the protection for consumers to keep the plan they have if they like it; thus, the term ‘grandfathered plans.’ If you have a plan you like – existing policies – you can keep them. …we said, if you like a plan, you get to keep it, and you can grandfather it in.” (Sen. Harkin, Congressional Record, S.7675-6, 9/29/10)

THEN-REP. TAMMY BALDWIN (D-Wis.): “Under the bill, if you like the insurance you have now, you may keep it and it will improve.” (Rep. Baldwin, Press Release, 3/18/10)

SEN. MARK BEGICH (D-Alaska): “If you got a doctor now, you got a medical professional you want, you get to keep that. If you have an insurance program or a health care policy you want of ideas, make sure you keep it. That you can keep who you want.” (Sen. Begich, Townhall Event, 7/27/09)

SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D-Colo.): “We should begin with a basic principle: if you have coverage and you like it, you can keep it. If you have your doctor, and you like him or her, you should be able to keep them as well. We will not take that choice away from you.” (Sen. Bennet, Press Release, 6/11/09)

SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D-Calif.): “So we want people to be able to keep the health care they have. And the answer to that is choice of plans. And in the exchange, we’re going to have lots of different plans, and people will be able to keep the health care coverage they need and they want.” (Sen. Boxer, Press Release, 2/8/11)

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D-Ohio): “Our bill says if you have health insurance and you like it, you can keep it…”(Sen. Brown, Congressional Record, S.12612, 12/7/09)

SEN. BEN CARDIN (D-Md.): “For the people of Maryland, this bill will provide a rational way in which they can maintain their existing coverage…” (Sen. Cardin, Congressional Record, S.13798, 12/23/09)

SEN. BOB CASEY (D-Pa.): “I also believe this legislation and the bill we are going to send to President Obama this fall will also have secure choices. If you like what you have, you like the plan you have, you can keep it. It is not going to change.” (Sen. Casey, Congressional Record, S.8070, 7/24/09)

SEN. KAY HAGAN (D-N.C.): ‘People who have insurance they’re happy with can keep it’ “We need to support the private insurance industry so that people who have insurance they’re happy with can keep it while also providing a backstop option for people without access to affordable coverage.” (“Republicans Vent As Other Compromise Plans Get Aired,” National Journal’s Congress Daily, 6/18/09)

SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D-La.): “If you like the insurance that you have, you’ll be able to keep it.” (MSNBC’s Hardball, 12/16/09)

SEN. PAT LEAHY (D-Vt.): “[I]f you like the insurance you now have, keep the insurance you have.” (CNN’s “Newsroom,” 10/22/09)

SEN. BOB MENENDEZ (D-N.J.): “If you like what you have, you get to keep it” “Menendez is a member of the Senate Finance Committee, which is expected to release a bill later this week. He stressed that consumers who are satisfied with their plans won’t have to change. ‘If you like what you have, you get to keep it,’ he said.” (“Health Care Plan Would Help N.J., Menendez Says,” The Record, 6/19/09)

SEN. JEFF MERKLEY (D-Oreg.): “[E]nsuring that those who like their insurance get to keep it” “The HELP Committee bill sets forward a historic plan that will, for the first time in American history, give every American access to affordable health coverage, reduce costs, and increase choice, while ensuring that those who like their insurance get to keep it.” (Sen. Merkley, Press Release, 7/15/09)

SEN. BARBARA MIKULSKI (D-Md.): “It means that if you like the insurance you have now, you can keep it.” (Sen. Mikulski, Press Release, 12/24/09)

SEN. JAY ROCKEFELLER (D-W.Va.): “I want people to know, the President’s promise that if you like the coverage you have today you can keep it is a pledge we intend to keep.” (U.S. Senate, Finance Committee, Hearing, 9/23/09)

SEN. JACK REED (D-R.I.): “If you like the insurance you have, you can choose to keep it.” (Sen. Reed, Town Hall Event, 6/25/09)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-Vt.): “‘If you have coverage you like, you can keep it,’ says Sen. Sanders.” (“Sick And Wrong,” Rolling Stone, 4/5/10)

SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D-N.H.): ‘if you have health coverage that you like, you get to keep it’ “My understanding… is that… if you have health coverage that you like you can keep it. As I said, you may have missed my remarks at the beginning of the call, but one of the things I that I said as a requirement that I have for supporting a bill is that if you have health coverage that you like you should be able to keep that. …under every scenario that I’ve seen, if you have health coverage that you like, you get to keep it.” (Sen. Shaheen, “Health Care Questions From Across New Hampshire,” Accessed 11/13/13)

SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW (D-Mich.): “As someone who has a large number of large employers in my state, one of the things I appreciate about the chairman’s mark is – is the grandfathering provisions, the fact that the people in my state, 60 percent of whom have insurance, are going to be able to keep it. And Mr. Chairman, I appreciate that. That’s a strong commitment. It’s clear in the bill… I appreciate the strong commitment on your part and the president to make sure that if you have your insurance you can keep it. That’s the bottom line for me.” (U.S. Senate, Finance Committee, Bill Mark-Up, 9/24/09)

SEN. JON TESTER (D-Mont.): “‘If you like your coverage, you’ll be able to keep it,’ Tester said, adding that if Medicare changes, it will only become stronger”. (“Tester In Baker To Discuss Health Care,” The Fallon County Times, 11/20/09)

SEN. TOM UDALL (D-N.Mex.): “Some worried reform would alter their current coverage. It won’t. If you like your current plan, you can keep it.” (“What I Learned: About Health Care Reform This Summer, By Your Lawmakers In Congress,” Albuquerque Journal, 9/8/09)

SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D-R.I.): “…it honors President Obama’s programs and the promise of all of the Presidential candidates that if you like the plan you have, you get to keep it. You are not forced out of anything.”(Sen. Whitehouse, Congressional Record, S.8668, 8/3/09)

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

.

Leftist Disaster Update: Thousands Of Doctors Dropped By Insurer After Obamacare Funding Cuts

Thousands Of Doctors Dropped By Insurer After Obamacare Funding Cuts – News Max

UnitedHealth Group has dropped thousands of doctors from its networks in recent weeks, leaving many elderly patients unsure whether they need to switch plans to continue seeing their doctors, the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.

.
..

The insurer said in October that underfunding of Medicare Advantage plans for the elderly could not be fully offset by the company’s other healthcare business.

The company also reported spending more healthcare premiums on medical claims in the third quarter, due mainly to government cuts to payments for Medicare Advantage services.

“Medicare Advantage, an alternative to traditional Medicare, combines hospital and doctor coverage and often includes prescription drugs and perks like gym memberships,” the Journal explained. “Enrollment has more than doubled since 2004 to 13 million in 2012, which represents about 27 percent of Americans on Medicare.

“The federal government pays private insurers a per-capita fee to manage the benefits. The rate is currently about 12 percent more than the average Medicare patient spends annually. The Obama administration plans to cut those extra payments to insurers by about $150 billion over the next 10 years to help pay” for the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

Some experts told the Journal that they expect enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans to decline sharply if that occurs.

The Journal report said that doctors in at least 10 states were notified of being laid off the plans, some citing “significant changes and pressures in the healthcare environment.” According to the notices, the terminations can be appealed within 30 days.

Tyler Mason, a UnitedHealth spokesperson, was not immediately available for comment when reached by Reuters.

At least two state medical societies are seeking temporary restraining orders against UnitedHealth and other state attorney generals are investigating the firm.

Attorneys in Connecticut, acting on behalf of the Hartford and Fairfield County Medical Associations, filed suit Friday after UnitedHealth dropped doctors serving the popular Medicare program, The Courant reported.

Other states expressed similar anger over the changes. In Rhode Island, the state’s attorney general and health department director on Friday sent letters to UnitedHealth’s New England CEO, asking him to reinstate doctors until a full plan for such a transition could be put in place, Rhode Island Public Radio reported.

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin and Health Department director Michael Fine told United Health that they are concerned the continuity of care will be lost in the shakeup. They also noted that UnitedHealth has not notified customers of the changes, leaving that up to doctors.

But the insurer told the WSJ that its provider networks were always changing and that it expected its Medicare Advantage network to be 85 percent to 90 percent of its current size by the end of 2014.

UnitedHealth is participating in about a dozen new state insurance markets that launched on October 1 to offer subsidized health coverage under Obamacare. The insurer had said previously it planned to withdraw from some markets in 2014 because of the government funding cuts.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

.

Foreign Policy Disaster Update: Obama Says Bombing Iran’s Nukes Will Make Them Want To Build Nukes

Obama: I Don’t Want To Attack Iran’s Nukes Because That Will Inspire Them To Build Nukes – Pat Dollard

Obama is determined, come hell or high water, that Iran get a nuclear arsenal. This has been a core goal of the Democrat party for decades.

.

Excerpted from The Jerusalem Post: US President Barack Obama said Thursday that no matter how powerful the American military, a strike against nuclear facilities in Iran could lead the Islamic Republic to “pursue even more vigorously nuclear weapons in the future.”

“No matter how good our military is, military options are always messy,” Obama said. “Any armed conflict has cost to it.”

At a press conference in the West Wing of the White House, Obama, speaking primarily about changes to his signature health care law, said he hoped Congress would hold off on new sanctions against Iran as negotiations proceeded in Geneva – “if, in fact, we’re serious about trying to resolve this diplomatically.” Keep reading

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

.

8 Reasons ObamaCare Is An Epic Disaster (Kyle Becker)

8 Reasons ObamaCare Is An Epic Disaster – Kyle Becker

While Democrats were spiking the football after the passage of ObamaCare, most of the country was doing a collective facedesk. Check out just seven reasons this massive program is bombing…

.

1. Employer Mandate Bombs

“The ObamaCare employer mandate requiring businesses to provide their workers with health insurance will be delayed by a year, the administration said.” [The Hill] If ObamaCare is so fantastically awesome, why delay the awesomeness until after the 2014 midterm elections?

.

2. ‘Honor System’ Train Wreck

“The federal government will scale back oversight of what applicants say they earn. Knowing an applicant’s salary is crucial for the Affordable Care Act: Their income determines what kind of tax subsidy they receive, if they get any assistance at all.” [WaPo] Honor system? Yeah, because that works so well with cell phones and food stamps.

.

3. Rate Spikes

Insurance rate and premium spikes are taking place across the country. For example: “The Ohio Department of Insurance predicts premiums in 2014 will rise by 88 percent, a direct result of President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” [Washington Times]. Even in Washington State, which implemented ObamaCare-like reforms in 1993, “Obamacare will still increase the underlying cost of individually purchased health insurance by 34 to 80 percent, on average.” [Forbes]

.

4. Fire Tornado of Paperwork

“Obamacare has so far cost $30.8 billion and 111.4 million hours to complete paperwork to individuals, healthcare institutions, and small businesses, according to a new report. The American Action Forum, a Washington-based advocacy group that has long opposed the health law, said 55,742 employees – working 2,000 hours per year – would be needed to process all the red tape associated with Obamacare.” [NewsMax]

.

5. Trillions More in Debt – Economic Collapse

“Obamacare will increase the long-term federal deficit by $6.2 trillion, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report”… “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits – either now or in the future,” Obama told a joint-session of Congress in September 2009. [NRO] President Obama also said in an ABC News interview in 2009 that if Congress did not pass health care legislation that brought down costs, the federal government “will go bankrupt.”

.

6. ‘Round in Circles – Still Doesn’t Cover 26 Million

“[T]he landmark overhaul will expand coverage to about 30 million uninsured people, according to government figures. But an estimated 26 million Americans will remain without coverage – a population that’s roughly the size of Texas and [hypothetically] includes illegal immigrants and those who can’t afford to pay out-of-pocket for health insurance.”[Business Insider]

.

7. Not Everyone Will Keep Their Plans

“Many people who buy their own health insurance could get surprises in the mail this fall: cancellation notices because their current policies aren’t up to the basic standards of President Barack Obama’s health care law. They, and some small businesses, will have to find replacement plans – and that has some state insurance officials worried about consumer confusion. Also, it doesn’t seem to square with one of the president’s best known promises about his health care overhaul: ‘If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan.'” [AP]

.

8. Politicians Want Exemption

“Congressional leaders in both parties are engaged in high-level, confidential talks about exempting lawmakers and Capitol Hill aides from the insurance exchanges they are mandated to join as part of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, sources in both parties said.” [Politico] It’s official – ObamaCare is a nuclear-grade disaster.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

.

Obamacare’s Insurance Exchanges Are Already Turning Into A Disaster

Obamacare’s Insurance Exchanges Are Already Turning Into A Disaster – Investors Business Daily

Devoted users of Internet radio apps like Pandora may soon hear unexpected sound bites on their favorite music channels – ads touting ObamaCare.

That’s right. In an attempt to drum up support for the law’s health insurance exchanges, some states are planning advertising campaigns that could include everything from pro-ObamaCare coffee-cup sleeves to spots on popular music-streaming sites.

But no amount of advertising spin can obscure the fact that ObamaCare’s insurance exchanges are shaping up to be disasters – saddling some consumers with higher premiums and state taxpayers with significant new spending obligations.

………

ObamaCare calls for the creation of state-administered health insurance exchanges, where Americans without employer-provided coverage can shop for government-approved policies. Enrollment is scheduled to begin Oct. 1, and coverage will take effect in 2014.

Those with incomes between 133% and 400% of the federal poverty level – up to $92,200 for a family of four as of 2012 – will qualify for federal subsidies.

States were given the choice of setting up their own exchanges, partnering with the federal government, or letting the feds handle things entirely.

Nineteen have opted for the first choice, and seven have signed on for a partnership.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is among the 25 governors who have refused to set up a state-based exchange. As Walker noted, “No matter which option is chosen, Wisconsin taxpayers will not have meaningful control over the health care policies and services sold to Wisconsin residents.”

Walker is right. The federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) dictates that all policies sold on the exchanges must meet one of four classifications: platinum, gold, silver or bronze. These categories indicate the percentage of health costs a plan covers for the average person: 90% for a platinum policy, 80% for gold, and so on.

Deductibles for all plans will be capped at $5,950 for individuals and $11,900 for families, with the limits adjusted over time for inflation. Such mandates prevent insurers from offering low-cost products that may best fit a family’s budget.

ObamaCare doesn’t just set the rules – it also tasks states with enforcing them.

Running an exchange could therefore get pricey. Indeed, the law indicates that states with their own exchanges must devise a source of revenue for running them independently beginning in 2015.

That’s one reason New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has opted not to set up an exchange, arguing that “the federal government cannot tell us what it will cost.”

Click HERE For Rest Of Story