There is a lot of misinformation being intentionally circulated for partisan political gain about the Affordable Care Act. In an effort to provide people with the truth about the healthcare law and the website, PoliticusUSA did what most of the media hasn’t done. We spoke to someone in the private sector who works with the ACA and the website on a regular basis.
Aaron Lehman has been a financial advisor for 16 years. He has spent most of his career working with health insurance. He has been training in using the website and utilizes the site three times a week for his clients. He is a person who has dealt with the website from the beginning, and he was kind enough to share his experiences with us.
Mr. Lehman started off by telling what he likes best about the ACA, “The biggest reason I like the ACA is that it covers pre-existing conditions. In the past I have had many clients that have been let go from their job and the reason was not their fault. These people cannot get health insurance through an underwritten (normal) policy. If they can get insurance they will need to get COBRA which is very expensive or through a guaranteed issue policy which usually doesn’t cover their condition. This was a very hard conversation to have with someone especially the way they were currently feeling after losing their job. Now I don’t have to worry about it because if the same situation happens now, they will be able to get insurance to cover the condition. They also will probably be paying less than COBRA and will get better coverage.”
I asked Aaron what the biggest difference was in the media reporting on the website, and what is really going on, “The website is working very well and I have first-hand experience since I have been signing people up for the ACA. The media and Republicans are reporting otherwise and I have no idea why.”
Lehman expressed surprise at Republican claims of backend issues with the website, “I specifically asked my clients to call me when they got their bill. Everyone received it within two weeks of signing up so I was really surprised when I was told there were backend issues with the website.
He was critical of the website when it launched, “When the website launched I HATED IT. I would go on with clients, and it would crash or would not even let me get on. When you have clients come specifically for the ACA, and it doesn’t work it sucks. The government should have realized that every agent that is going to be working with the website would go on the first day to see what it looks like. Also, you have the general population that would be going on the website. The rollout was one of the most idiotic things I had ever seen. Bottom line: it sucked. I noticed the website getting better about three weeks ago. I could get on it, and clients are were getting registered with the ACA. Mostly everyone I enrolled did not have a great attitude when they first came in however when they left they were thanking me because they were paying less for coverage and getting better coverage.”
The experiences of Lehman and his clients don’t match up with Republican claims that the ACA is causing premiums to increase, “Every client that I have signed up for the website has saved money on their premium. The premiums are higher for the most part, but most people qualify for a subsidy. This website is a quick look to see if you qualify for a subsidy. If you are a family of 4 but do not all need insurance, then this website will not tell you the whole story. This website gives you the premium if all members need to be covered. If 3 members are covered and one isn’t the healthcare.org website will show you how much you qualify for and will give you the premium for the member of the family that needs health insurance. For the most part, if you are 400% below the poverty level you should qualify for a subsidy. Here are the federal poverty guidelines
Aaron concluded with this message for people who might be nervous or uncertain about what to believe when it comes to the website and the ACA, “Just because you go on the website and create an account, it doesn’t mean that you need to enroll. You can go on and see based on your income if you qualify for a subsidy and how much the different plans cost. If you get $300 for a subsidy and only use $250, you will get $50 back on your taxes at the end of the year. If your income is increases or decreases in 2014, then the credit will go down or up on your tax return which means you may pay more or less taxes at the end of the year. These answers are based on my experience with the website and not from the news or even PoliticusUSA. I can only report what I have learned about the website after using it for 2 months. Everything with the website is not perfect but for the right person I have seen that it is a positive thing.”
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association
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