What are consumers doing right now?
I had a great telephone conversation with an experienced health insurance executive today. We talked about the hottest topic in the insurance industry: consumer alternatives to Obamacare. I mentioned that I’ve noticed increased consumer demand for products like Core Health Insurance that do not meet Obamacare standards.
We discussed that:
- This topic is driven by consumer demand, not any planned response from government or the insurance industry. The unaffordable cost of Obamacare is the primary driver of consumer change. The recent presidential order and IRS announcement about Obamacare further sparked consumer interest in replacing their coverage.
- The Republican promise of “repeal and replace” is not going to happen as originally intended. Instead, progress will look more like an evolution of old issues.
- Consumers do not believe that IRS will enforce Obamacare penalties. Uncertainty surrounds all other aspects of tax treatment related to the Affordable Care Act. Insurers are not offering tax advice. Consumers are making assumptions about the tax outcome of the ACA penalties that may or may not turn out to be true.
- There is no consensus on recommendations for alternatives or standards of coverage among professionals at this point in the transition.
- As in the past, consumers do not have a clear understanding of the coverage options. Some are likely making mistakes by relying on fast-talking telephone insurance sales call centers. (I recommend never buying insurance by telephone. Instead, get everything in writing from the insurer’s web site.).
The most popular Obamacare alternative is not a single insurance policy but rather a bundle of insurance and non-insurance benefits that mold into the needs of most consumers at a price they can afford. A core limited benefit medical insurance, accident coverage, telemedicine program and a dental plan make up the most popular combination.
As always, programs vary from state to state. My website FreedomBenefits.net has a “Get a quote” button that makes this type of ‘mix and match’ shopping for alternative coverage easy.
One thing is certain: the poplar alternatives will cost less but cover less. This is risky business. Yet that seems to be the choice of consumers who wrestle control of their benefits from government mandates under Obamacare.
If we’ve learned one thing, it’s that government is not in a strong position right now to dictate the type of health coverage an individual must carry.