Obama hawk­ing health cov­er­age as dead­line ar­rives

Modern Healthcare - - THE WEEK AHEAD - —Bob Her­man

We’ll soon see how ef­fec­tive a health in­surance sales­man Pres­i­dent Barack Obama proves to be as the dead­line ar­rives this week for Americans to sign up for in­di­vid­ual-mar­ket cov­er­age ef­fec­tive Jan. 1.

The pres­i­dent made a big push over the week­end to en­cour­age Americans, es­pe­cially young peo­ple, to sign up for health in­surance on Health­Care.gov or through their state ex­changes. On Fri­day, Obama spoke on ESPN Ra­dio’s “The Herd” with Colin Cowherd. He also taped a show for Ryan Seacrest’s “On Air” to be broad­cast Mon­day. In ad­di­tion, he was sched­uled to be on a Raleigh, N.C., ra­dio show.

Unin­sured peo­ple who don’t en­roll by Dec. 15 could face tax penal­ties be­cause they won’t have cov­er­age in place by Jan. 1, though sev­eral states, in­clud­ing Idaho, Maryland, Mas­sachusetts, and Wash­ing­ton, are giv­ing res­i­dents a few more days. Obama’s ra­dio talks come days after he ap­peared on Com­edy Cen­tral’s “The Col­bert Re­port.” Charles Gaba, a Michi­gan web­site de­vel­oper whose en­roll­ment track­ing is widely fol­lowed, es­ti­mated that 7.4 mil­lion peo­ple will sign up in time for Jan. 1 cov­er­age. That num­ber could reach 12.5 mil­lion by Feb. 15, when open en­roll­ment ends, he said. If the same per­cent­age of peo­ple pay their pre­mi­ums as they did in 2014 (88%), that would put 2015 en­roll­ment around 11 mil­lion, top­ping the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s cau­tious pro­jec­tion of 9 mil­lion to 10 mil­lion.


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