ObamaCare Clusterfuck: In which lambert apologizes for being prematurely EVEN MORE correct [UPDATED]
[UPDATE Here's a separate post on Local 6's retraction. --lambert]
[The Navigator seems to have backed away -- kinda sorta and subject to a report to come, see below -- from their original statement; hat tip Splashoil, and see UPDATE below. Note that although FL is on the Federal Exchange, at least one state exchange, IL, does allow the use of credit scores for eligibility determination; hat tip Teresa. Note that the Federal Exhange form (see here) certainly does not preclude the use of credit information beyond identity. --lambert]
Credit scores impacting new Affordable Care Act insurance plans
Many people signing up for health care in Florida through the Affordable Care Act have been shocked when they have to give proof of their credit score before they finish the process.
Anne Packham, one of many people licensed by the state to help people navigate the government's website, said on Tuesday that the credit check occurs so providers can make an educated decision about who to insure.
"If someone is defaulting on all of their bills they may not want to have them as part of their health plan," said Packham, the lead Navigator in Florida.
Man, those Navigators sure do know how to extend a helping and, don't they?
Participants with low credit scores could end up paying higher premiums, according to Packham, who said that ultimately the insurance company makes the call.
Lambert [lambert blushes modestly] scooped the world on this, 2013-05-11: ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Feds to use "consumer reporting agencies" to determine eligibility despite penalty for perjury.
NOTE One question: I've heard that if you have bad credit, and apply for a card, you can end up making your credit rating even worse. I wonder if the same is true if you apply for ObamaCare? Seems crazy, I know, but what about this process hasn't been crazy?
UPDATE 3:39PM Here is the video from Local 6:
The above video does not say that credit scores play no part in the process of eligibility determination; to find out the full correction, apparently we have to listen to the 7PM news from Local 6 [No link on the site -- lambert]. Here is the paraphrase in the story:
Anne Packham, one of many people licensed by the state to help people navigate the government's website, said on Tuesday that the credit check was put in place so providers can make an educated decision about who to insure.
After receiving numerous emails about the story, Local 6 contacted Packham on Wednesday, and she said her statement was incorrect, adding that users do not need their credit scores to apply for the Affordable Care Act.
Local 6 is investigating how the person in charge of providing information about the Affordable Care Act could make such an error [Nothing yet. --lambert].
First, as Local 6 points out, a gaffe (if it is a gaffe) like this doesn't speak well for the Navigator program. Second, I don't see why a credit score would be required in the first place; if Experian has your identity, it can get your credit scores from its own databases. So WTF?
UPDATE A larval stage Kossack gets in on the act: "Ridiculous Florida TV Station Claims Credit Scores Affect ACA Premium Prices." First, CBS (and not FOX). Second, quoting a Navigator, trained by HHS. So come on. And to me --- yielding to those with local knowledge -- the Navigator doesn't look like a plant: Anne Packham is from the Health Council of East Florida; I looked at their About page, and again subject to correction by locals, I'm not seeing funding or personnel red flags. They also seem to have won a national IT award.
UPDATE Another case where a screen dump would help. But if I can't trust CBS and a trained navigator...
UPDATE The same navigator in a Q&A with the Orlando Sentinel:
Q. Can you be turned down at the exchanges because of your credit rating and be forced to pay a penalty instead?
A. You can apply for an exemption. Bankruptcy, for example, is one of the conditions that qualify individuals for an exemption. It's estimate that less than a half-percent of the American public will have to pay a penalty. That's because most people will either get covered or will not earn enough to pay for a plan.
That'st just not true. There's no exemption from the mandate for a bad credit score. Wowsers.