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Covered California is the wholly owned subsidiary of the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. As we noted, Covered California offers tax credits to those who enroll, but when those people reach 65 and go on Medicare they are no longer eligible for the tax credits. Trouble is, they find it practically impossible to cancel their Covered California plan and therefore get hammered with penalties. As Emily Bazar of the Center for Health Reporting observes, this does not mean Covered California fails to cancel coverage in other situations.
Obamacare tax credits are based on income, which does not remain constant. Freelancer Maryann Hammers, 59, had a good year and duly updated her income, with the help of Covered California’s “customer service.” But then, Hammers told Emily Bazar, “I found out that Covered California instead told Anthem Blue Cross to CANCEL my current coverage when my income was updated.” It took Hammers more than three months to get insured again, shortly after she endured surgery and chemotherapy.
Hammers is hardly alone, and Bazar’s quest to find answers is revealing. It is not possible simply to call Covered California or go to its website, report the change, and have the plan updated. Rather, when someone reports an income change Covered California terminates that person from their plan. The reason, as Bazar learned, is “Covered California’s nearly half-a-billion-dollar computer system apparently can’t handle that kind of complexity.” So as with the refusal to cancel, nobody is to blame and it’s all a computer glitch. With no answers in the system, Bazar recommends declining some or all of the tax credits, increasing the amount of taxes withheld from paychecks, boosting quarterly tax estimates, and having medical procedures done quickly, before Covered California can cancel. Do all that, says Bazar, “and keep your fingers crossed.”
How’s that for a ringing endorsement of the system? Here’s the deal: Obamacare is a wasteful, inefficient system based on lies and designed to take away Americans’ freedom to choose and subject them to the sort of abuse Emily Bazar regularly describes. So have a happy new year in 2015, but don’t forget to cross your fingers, knock on wood, and grab that four-leaf clover.