The Obama administration reports that three time as many people applied for health coverage on-line which resulted in more applicants than had applied in November and December of 2013.
Many of the new applicants this year were people who had lost their coverage due to non-payment of premium or had no coverage at all. Others had simply renewed their coverage. In the case of new people enrolling in health care coverage for the first time since the enactment of Obamacare, most of them may have found that they will be paying more in deductibles and co-payments. As more come into the system, more will be turning to voluntary benefits as a way to defray their costs.
Some private insurance companies offer voluntary benefits which pay lump sums of money for hospital visits and other procedures such as surgery and diagnostic testing to help defray the costs of co-payments, deductibles, rent, mortgage, and utilities. These amounts are offered over and above the actual charges incurred for these visits. Employees also receive life insurance and disability coverage, which they may not have had at their companies.
There were many problems with the implementation of Obamacare last year, as many people experienced delays in the processing of their applications. There were many problems with the computers which had to be resolved. Additionally, the climate under which the former health and human services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius had to operate, was difficult because of the opposition of many of the members of Congress to Obamacare.
Consequently, Sylvia Matthews Burwell was appointed to replace Kathleen Sebelius when she resigned in June 2014. Ms. Burwell has already implemented weekly reporting on the enrollments, as opposed to monthly. She has been hailed as an extremely skilled negotiator and knowledgeable about the health care system.
Ms. Burwell will be facing many challenges with the states of Texas and Florida who have not offered Medicaid to more of their residents who need them, nor have they set up health exchanges for their states. Her background and experience in working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other non-profit agencies will enable her to overcome many of the challenges she will face in this position.
In conclusion, it appears that more people who need health coverage are gaining access to a system which will enable them to secure the needed coverage.