Editorial: Poor communication plaguing Obamacare

  • Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013 12:01 a.m.

Recent surveys are showing that Americans are still very, very confused about the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC poll found that those most likely to benefit from the overhaul are actually largely unaware of the changes at the heart of the law that will take place on Oct. 1.

Scrutiny of the program will likely increase as the new insurance marketplaces known as exchanges are set up in October, but even three years after President Obama signed his signature law, it’s still difficult to navigate.

Frustration and confusion have undoubtedly been fueled by the law’s complexity and the intensity of the current political environment. Also, most of the information disseminated by the government has not been fairly useful or clear.

Thankfully, some health care experts have banded together to help the uninsured make more informed decisions when it comes to the changes.

The Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce, for instance, recently organized a public forum to more thoroughly explain Obamacare to local residents.

The next big step in the law will occur when consumers can log onto www.HealthCare.gov, fill out an application and choose a plan when open enrollment begins on Oct. 1.

The public can visit the site now to learn more about plans in anticipation of having coverage by Jan. 1, 2014.

Of course, the complexity of our health care system is nothing new.

Policyholders have dealt with confusing plan descriptions and technical, convoluted language in the past.

Additionally, for most people, no change will occur. The vast majority of people working for large and midsize companies get their insurance through their employment and that will continue. The exchanges are for people who currently don’t have insurance or buy their own insurance. The health care changes were largely aimed at two goals: decreasing the number of uninsured Americans, and reducing the cost of care. The first objective is essentially mandated since virtually all Americans will be required to have coverage.

The second goal remains up in the air, and consequently, there remains lots of questions about whether health care will be more affordable in the future.

Unfortunately, at this point, the answer really depends on who you ask.

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