The open enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, has come to a close, recording a noticeable dip in the numbers compared to what was initially expected. According to the previous administration, they were set to sign up at least a million people during the final week of the open enrollment period. It missed that mark, however, and the total number of sign-ups was pegged at 9.2 million. This reflects a 4% decline from the 9.63 million recorded people at around the same time last year. Despite this minor setback in sign-up numbers, and despite the worries about the future of Obamacare, those who did enroll with the program can still expect to be offered the full service guaranteed by it. Experts note that, confusion in policies aside, people should still go for the opportunity to be covered, especially since the Affordable Care Act marketplace this year has various health plans and subsidies in place. Hospitals and other institutions that will inevitably be affected by the shifts and movements in the implementation of Obamacare should be equally alert so as to ensure a smooth continuity of service delivery to their patients.
Coverage Expectations Hospitals would do well to note that individuals who signed up at the end of the open enrollment period will have their coverage period running from March 1st. Unfortunately, those who missed the January 31st deadline can no longer enroll in the marketplace or revise their coverage plans. However, the exception to that general rule are special circumstances such as getting married, having a child, or losing coverage that is duly provided for by one’s employer. These are just some of the examples of when an unenrolled individual can still apply beyond the deadline. These details should therefore be closely looked at and monitored by the hospital to make sure that patients are getting the coverage rightfully due them. This is also why having an efficient revenue cycle management system is important for healthcare facilities. Not only are dynamics constantly changing in the marketplace itself, but this extends even down to the circumstances of the very individual too. Having an efficient system in place will ensure your hospital’s success, even if Obamacare does not survive. Sources: Sign Up for Health Care Coverage? ‘Absolutely,’ Experts Say The New York Times. Affordable Care Act’s 10 Essential Health Benefits. AARP.