ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Private web insurance sites enroll for ObamaCare (for a 7% fee?)
Dear Lord, how did I miss this? MSNBC:
The federal government has signed five landmark deals that set the stage for major Web insurance markeplaces to enroll potentially millions of people in Obamacare, CNBC learned late Wednesday.
The breakthrough, which came after months of negotiations, lays the groundwork for the Web exchanges to begin enrolling people who qualify for government insurance subsidies in the 36 marketplaces that the federal government is either running for individual states or in partnership with states this year. ...
But for now, GetInsured, eHealth and all other Web-based markets remain effectively locked out of doing the same kind of subsidized business with the remaining 15 exchanges being operated by individual states and by the District of Columbia. Both California and New York have opted out of such deals, as least for the first year of their exchange's operation.
Under the deals, eHealth, GetInsured, and the other Web markets are being allowed access to the federal exchange data hub, which is necessary to allow would-be insurance buyers to have their eligibility for subsidies verified.
I'm totally sure that raises no privacy concerns!
The deals are the first step toward giving eHealth permission to actually enroll subsidized customers in the exchanges' insurance plans, an approval that is now viewed as a "formality," according to a person close to eHealth.
Cool. So Obama just privatized ObamaCare. The only role for the government is to hand out the subsidies. One can only wonder if the Federal Exchange is being fucked up for a reason, eh?
Now, eHealth and GetInsured are setting their sites [sic] on persuading those states operating their own exchanges to overcome their widespread resistance to partnering.
Lauer said he hopes those states "will follow the leadership of the federal government."
Krishan of GetInsured said, "It's our goal, intent and commitment to get all 50 states, and it is our goal to serve customers across the country."
The deals could earn eHealth and GetInsured a lot of money.
The former, for example, gets an average premium of about 7 percent for the plans it offers on its website, in the form of commissions paid by the insurance providers who sell the plans.
So, a 7% rent on top of the rents already charged by the insurance industry???
A March 2012 federal regulation gave Web-based insurance markets the ability to enroll subsidy-qualified people in the new exchanges. But the regulation left it up to the governments running those exchanges to decide whether to let the online markets do so.
Since then, eHealth's Lauer, in particular, has lobbied diligently to get the Obamacare exchanges to grant that permission but had been thwarted until this week.
Allowing private Web markets to sign up people on their sites may save the government money in enrollment costs, according to Lauer. It will also broaden the participant pool, he said, providing premium payments from younger, healthier people to balance the older and sick people who tend to generate benefit costs.
"Having us involved is going to expand the size of the pool, and all of that is going to help to mitigate risk, balance risk and hopefully keep prices and premiums stable," Lauer said.
Last year, eHealth drew 20 million visitors, half of whom were between the 18 and 34, he said.
So this is what Obama had up his sleeve on that demographic (making it all the more clear Enroll America and the Navigators really are just "walking around money."
NOTE Sorry my response to this isn't as coherent as it should be. I need to do more research....
UPDATE One reason I didn't pick up on this is because Kaiser didn't cover it. Weird.