The daily headlines chronicling Obamacares many startup troubles usually include incendiary quotes from people with political agendas trying to further validate their positions with their multiple talking point strategies. Recent news shows that the number of people that have actually enrolled in the first two months is abysmal.
While both the planners and pundits are correct to point these issues out, they are missing the big picture. Obamacare is no longer a political issue. Like it or not, that fight has largely been fought. It is, however, a human behavior issue.
Heres why. People have no appetite for change. Simply put, people wont do what they dont want to do. Take it from me. I sit on the front lines of enrolling people into their 401(k) plans. People who put up the many excuses to not participate in their 401(k) plan are repeating the same reasons to delay these necessary decisions. The only difference is that the decision to contribute towards the security of your financial future is voluntary and enrollment in Obamacare is not, for many.
In a world where people would rather have a free turkey at Christmas time instead of a $100 contribution made on their behalf to their retirement plans, what we have here is a serious failure to communicate.
Obviously, the system is going to have to become less cumbersome to enable people to learn about and enroll in the new plans. That only addresses one part of the problem. Despite, the mandate to enroll, many still wont. How many uninsured drivers are cruising the streets of your town right now?
Theres going to be a lot for social scientists who study this grand experiment. I dont pretend to know the answers to technical glitches or the shockingly low initial enrollment rate. I do know that the quicker the powers that be stop looking at this as a political problem and start treating it as a human behavior issue, the quicker people will be motivated to sign up.
Nydick, CFP, CIMC, AIFA is a managing member of CFS Investment Advisory Services, L.L.C. in Totowa, N.J. He can be reached at (973) 826-8800.
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