As the hordes of procrastinators rush to Healthcare.gov today to beat the deadline to purchase their healthcare and avoid the individual mandate penalties, the site--which was down earlier today--broadcasts the following message:
“During times of especially high demand, you may be queued to begin your online Marketplace application to ensure the best possible shopping experience.”
Ok, so we’re a global superpower. We’re home to some of the biggest and brightest technical minds on the planet. And yet we can’t build a web site that allows people to sign up to a government-required program? Sorry, I digress.
In early March, Nexxt thought it would be fun to take a survey of a subset of our 40 million jobseeker members to see what they thought about The Affordable Care Act, also affectionately (or not so) called Obamacare. We recently published our findings, and discovered some pretty interesting things.
Human Resources Get a Reprieve
Individuals are still on the hook to get signed up today, or face the penalties. But, employers are off the hook until next year, when the employer mandate kicks in. But, hiring companies may be asking themselves…what would happen if I didn’t provide insurance? Would my workforce leave? Maybe not as many as you think.
We asked the question, “What would you do if your employer stopped offering healthcare insurance?” Over 59% said they’d still stay with their job. Could employers who were on the fence about providing insurance just decide to pay the $2K annual penalty instead, knowing that over 50% of their workforce would still stay, even if they didn’t provide coverage?
Because there was no financial penalty for not complying, many employers didn’t feel the overall sense of urgency to comply. It will be interesting to watch how employer shift their coverage levels or eliminate their offerings altogether when the penalties take effect in 2015.
Clearly, there's a disconnect out there. With almost 50% of respondents saying that they learned about the Affordable care act through the news, and only 34% of them visiting the official Healthcare.gov site, it’s no wonder there’s so much misinformation out there. Only 13.29% said their HR department explained what the Affordable Care Act is to them. My employer was one of the 13% that did; the rules of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act required them to do so. Did other HR departments just forget to send out the ACA Healthcare Notice Part A, or did our survey respondents simply forget that this information was provided to them? Baffling.
Why is everyone waiting until last minute? Probably because they’re confused. With the shifting rules, broken web site and moving deadlines, the process is intimidating and confusing. When asked whether the Affordable Care Act was better than Obamacare, 82% of older Americans ages 49 – 67 knew that they were the same thing. But, only 57.66% of 18-31 year olds indicated that they knew it was the same. Wait a minute...aren't they supposed to be the connected generation? Go figure.
Happy healthcare insurance shopping!
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