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NYT: Medicare Recipients Confused By Exchanges

From the New York Times:

Beneficiaries of Medicare Left Confused by Exchanges

By ROBERT PEAR | October 14, 2013

WASHINGTON — Medicare beneficiaries can sign up for private health plans starting Tuesday, but federal officials fear that many of them, out of confusion, might go to the new federal insurance exchange…

They fear no such thing. They want as many people to sign up as possible. Even if they have to bamboozle them to get them.

Joan M. Jenness, 81, a retired schoolteacher who lives in Bridgton, Me., said she had been watching the rollout of the federal exchange “with fascination, muted horror and sympathy” for people struggling to use it.

“I am very glad that I do not have to worry about the exchange and health plans offered on the exchange, with their limited networks of doctors and hospitals,” said Ms. Jenness, who added that her experience with Medicare had been “very satisfactory.”

In a bulletin for older Americans, the Obama administration emphasized that people on Medicare did not have to worry about the exchanges, or marketplaces, where millions of Americans have been trying to shop for private insurance since Oct. 1.

The Medicare handbook, sent to beneficiaries last month, drove home the point, saying, “Medicare isn’t part of the marketplace.” …

A recent government notice to Medicare beneficiaries says: “The health insurance marketplace is designed to help people who don’t have any health insurance. You have health insurance through Medicare. The marketplace won’t have any effect on your Medicare coverage.”

The open enrollment period for Medicare runs to Dec. 7 and overlaps with the open enrollment period for the exchanges, which is from Oct. 1 through March 31…

The potential for confusion is substantial. A number of insurers have used the terms “gold,” “silver” or “platinum” for products sold to Medicare beneficiaries, and similar terms are now used in the exchange…

Judith A. Stein, the executive director of the nonprofit Center for Medicare Advocacy, said she had received many calls from beneficiaries who believed incorrectly that “because of Obamacare they have to make some change or have to go to the new marketplace.”

All of those hundreds of millions of dollars that should have been spent ‘informing’ the public about Obama-Care were actually spent trying to get people to sign up. Rather than telling them whether they had to sign up or not.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Tuesday, October 15th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

One Response to “NYT: Medicare Recipients Confused By Exchanges”

  1. yadayada

    I wonder how many of these people will become accidently enrolled in both? how hard will it then be to disentangle them from that mess? how much $$ will be redistributed by then?

    obvious prediction – in 2014 (or 16), some republican will use resolving that problem as a plank in there campaign platform and dems will use it to mutilate him in the press. “he’s trying to eliminate health care for the poor!!”


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