No Exit

What happens if you sign up for Obamacare and then decide to switch to another policy?

Obamacare: You Can Get In, But Can You Get Out?

“Andrew Robinson was looking forward to getting health insurance through the Affordable Care Act,” explained reporter Lori Brown. “He has a small publishing business and works part time, so he hasn’t had coverage. In early January, he signed up for a plan that cost nearly $300 a month. About a half hour later, he and his wife realized they could barely afford that. They quickly found a less expensive plan through Humana — for $116 a month.”

The only surprise here is that an affordable plan is still available after Obamacare. The endless bureaucratic red tape Robinson goes through trying to switch plans is a feature of the system.

More than six weeks later, after spending 50 to 60 hours on the phone, his policy is still not canceled. And he is still waiting for the payment Florida Blue withdrew from his account to be refunded. …

According to Florida Blue, the company can’t cancel Robinson’s insurance until it receives notification from the Federal insurance marketplace that he has, in fact, obtained other insurance to take its place.

And that brings up another enforcement feature of Obamacare that, so far, has been overshadowed by the hoopla over the Internal Revenue Service’s expanded powers: The Federal health care marketplace itself can act as an Obamacare enforcer, tethering people who voluntarily approached the exchange for coverage to their initial decision for a very long time — no matter whether they later wish to exercise their own free will to drop coverage outright, or simply find a better deal somewhere else.

Welcome to the Hotel California.

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