100 Days until Obamacare!

· by Herb Dew

Herb is the CEO of HTI. He founded HTI in 1999 along with John Knight and David Sewell, and remains heavily involved in the organization today.
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Well, today marks a 100-day countdown until people can begin to sign up for the various healthcare exchanges around the country. Some states have opted to get into the healthcare business and host their own exchanges. Most states have opted (to the surprise of the bill writers) to let the federal government deal with the daunting task. To further complicate matters, the federal exchanges have to meet each individual state’s healthcare requirements: resulting in a mish-mash of plans, each state specific.

On October 1st, the exchanges have to be up and running. The Obama administration plans a huge marketing push targeting uninsured Americans. 40% of Americans still have little or no awareness that the law exists. The administration’s job is to go out and sell these Americans, particularly young, healthier Americans, that they need to be insured. This is key to the program’s success. If only uninsurable people sign up, the program will be in trouble financially.

Meanwhile private healthcare plans and employer paid plans must make the necessary changes to ensure compliance by January 1st, 2014.

I get so many people asking me “what will happen in January?” The truth is that I just don’t know. I have been an avid follower of this new law since it was enacted. HTI’s strategy is laid out. That job itself was hard…and costly. Weaving through a 20,000-page bill to make sure our company is in compliance has been a challenge.

I suspect the next 100 days is going to grow to a frenzy. But the true test will be this time next year. By then we will have a better sense if we as a country can afford this. And the adjustments that almost certainly will need to be made will be suggested and enacted. I hope all is well. But it feels like it’s not well organized.

We will see. In 100 days.