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Covered California, the Golden State’s wholly owned subsidiary of Obamacare, has been cancelling the coverage when people report changes in their income, changing their eligibility for tax credits. This problem exposes people to severe tax penalties but Covered California bosses blame it on their $454 million computer system. On the other hand, those turning 65 and going on Medicare find it practically impossible to cancel their Covered California deal. Covered California bosses blame this on the $454 million computer system, but it is probably a ruse to inflate the number of people Covered California can claim are enrolled. This kind of incompetence, waste and abuse are hard to top but as Emily Bazar of the Center for Health Reporting observes, Covered California appears to have pulled it off.
Bazar has been receiving notices from an “untold number” of consumers asking what coverage they qualify for, “if any.” She cites the case of Los Angeles writer Juniper Ekman, who dutifully applied during the first enrollment period with her husband and two-year old daughter. They began getting letters from Covered California, five or eight at time. Some letters said they did not qualify for tax credits. Then, last September, “I received 18 notices from Covered California in one day. Fourteen say we’re covered and four say we’re not. Which one should I believe?” No clear answer emerged, and Ekman is not alone. As Bazar notes, one Bay Area consumer received 40 notices in less than a month and in another case, “four people in the same household received four different eligibility decisions in the same notice.”
Covered California boss Dana Howard blamed the problem on the computer system. “This is the same system that has cost nearly half a billion dollars so far,” writes Bazar. The system may have helped “multitudes” apply for health insurance but “it also is responsible for countless glitches and widespread consumer misery.” That misery is inherent in the Obamacare system. Congress had to pass it for people to find out. If you don’t like the plan, you have to keep it.