The Health Insurance Marketplace Is Open for Business, Despite DifficultiesSeptember 25th, 2013 1 Min read Blog
Three-and-a-half years in the making, the federal Health Insurance Marketplace opened for business earlier this week -- but not without some hiccups. A key element of the Affordable Care Act, the Health Insurance Marketplace allows individuals and small businesses to compare and shop for health insurance plans online. On Tuesday, when the site went live, shoppers were greeted by "please wait" messages resulting from technological errors, crashes, and delays. Despite a rough first day, President Obama hailed the opening of the marketplace as a success, adding, "Like every new law, every new product rollout, there are going to be some glitches in the sign-up process along the way that we will fix." In response to criticism of the marketplace, Obama cited trouble with a recent Apple product upgrade. "I don't remember anybody suggesting Apple should stop selling iPhones or iPads or threatening to shut down the company if they didn't. That's not how we do things in America. We don't actually root for failure," he said. When functioning properly, Obama says the site will allow Americans to choose a health insurance plan -- "the same way [they] shop for a plane ticket on Kayak or a TV on Amazon." He added, "Most uninsured Americans will find that they can get covered for $100 [per month] or less." That low cost of coverage will result from federal subsidies available to those who do not receive coverage through their employer. Subsidies may only be used when the coverage is purchased in the marketplace. While subsidies will keep costs low for those who qualify for subsidies, anew report shows that the premiums will rise up to 260 percent for the average 30-year-old man. Regardless of the cost, it is anticipated that as many 30 million newly insured Americans will be seeking medical care beginning January 2014, when their insurance coverage becomes effective. While the number of insured Americans is on the rise, there may not be enough physicians for the increased demand. It is predicted that by 2020, there will be a deficit of 65,000 primary care providers, resulting in difficulty finding a doctor, longer wait times, and shorter appointments.