The Congressional Budget Offices estimate that 13 million people would enroll in the Affordable Care Acts health care exchanges during the 2015 open enrollment season had been scaled back by the Department of Health and Human Services estimate of 10 million enrollees; and the Obama Administration now says 11.7 million people are estimated to have actually enrolled in the marketplaces during 2015 open enrollment. But with all these rule changes, all these extensions and all these penalty exemptions, how can Americans take the rules seriously?
My sense is that many Americans will be trying to fly under the radar. And I can envision the turmoil and outrage which will be expressed when the penalties hit. My guess is that the Internal Revenue Service will have no choice but to extend their policy of leniency in enforcing the individual mandate penalty. This lack of revenue will need to be made up somewhere. New taxes, perhaps?
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid has opened a special enrollment period for those that 1) didn't know until after the open enrollment period that individuals and their families were required to have coverage 2) owe the fine for not having coverage for 2014 and 3) aren't enrolled for coverage in 2015.
There will be many uninsured who welcome this additional opportunity for coverage and those who fall into the categories mentioned above now have from March 15 through April 30 to enroll.
The Administration is trying to mitigate the penalty backlash. Americans are still going to be angry.
Hasday is president of Frenkel Benefits, LLC, one of the largest privately held independent employee benefits brokers in the United States and EVP of Frenkel & Company. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (212) 488-0200, and read more from Hasday at frenkelyspeaking.com.
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