By Denielle Patterson
Yes! The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare, as Republicans have nicknamed it, will provide healthcare to the 16 percent, or estimated 48 million, Americans who are currently uninsured.
This is a good thing. Obamacare works to provide quality, affordable healthcare through individual mandates. This means Americans without insurance will need to attain coverage through an employer or provider, and those who are covered remain with the same carrier. Previously, individuals were declined insurance due to pre- existing conditions such as pregnancy, accidental injuries, high blood pressure, and more. Under the ACA, insurance companies are banned from denying healthcare to anyone. Obamacare is beneficial for students as well, allowing them to be covered by their parent’s insurance until the age of 26. With this said, Obamacare is a beneficial law that shows social and political progression for America.
However, some individuals feel otherwise, like Travis Ray, a senior History major, who believes, “The government should revise Obamacare.” Ray continues, “It has many parts that harm the people and are not well thought out ideas.” Although he did not specify which parts he considers detrimental, there is something about Obamacare that definitely needs improvement.
Though the actual law is a great change for American healthcare, providing insurance to millions of Americans, the ability to obtain coverage has proven problematic. The Healthcare.gov website launched on Oct. 1 for consumers to shop and purchase health insurance. Unfortunately, it presented a number of technical issues that negatively affected the consumer experience. Individuals are having trouble logging onto the website and browsing insurance plans and encountering error messages and site timeouts.
Some states, including New York, have opted for a state exchange: the decision to implement an online price comparison specifically for the state compared to a national insurance marketplace.
The state exchange has proven to be more efficient than the national exchange. According to The New York Times, the New York exchange announced more than 40,000 eligible people have signed up for healthcare. The faulty website is one very disappointing feature of Obamacare, and bad representation of the health reform law itself.
Alternatives to the Healthcare.gov website have been provided to help Americans sign up for Obamacare with less frustration. One of these is through the U.S. Postal Service. A paper application can
be downloaded from CMS.gov (Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services) and mailed in to start the healthcare buying process. If waiting for the application to be received is less frustrating than waiting for the webpage to be repaired, this may be a better option.
According the Huffington Post, the healthcare reform law has established workers to assist consumers through the process of applying for insurance. Contact information can be found on the Find Local Help page of the Healthcare.gov website, which is unaffected by technical problems. Private vendors offer similar insurance through online marketplaces, allowing consumers to shop and compare plans as well.
Americans are encouraged to use these alternatives if they are frustrated with the website. Applicants have until Dec. 15 to choose a plan that takes effect on New Year’s Day.
Johanna Wills, a senior Art Therapy major, recognizes the website’s issues but appreciates the ACA, “It is disappointing that the website isn’t up to par, but Obamacare is great for America. Everyone else has universal healthcare. It’s about time we caught up.”
Understandably, it is hard to separate the malfunctions of
the Healthcare.gov website from the actual policies of the Affordable Care Act, but this should not discourage students from healthcare. Obamacarefacts.com is a great website, providing everything one needs to know about the new changes to our healthcare system. Students can also utilize the “Find Local Help” feature on the Healthcare.gov website to receive unbiased advice and information on the best healthcare options.