January 27, 2014

At AP, Kids Stuck Without Health Insurance Is Just a ‘Tricky’ Situation

We have a new word in the seemingly never-ending saga of “quirks,” “oddities” and other sanitizing language the press is using when it identifies serious problems with Obamacare and Medicaid.

The word is “tricky.” In describing a bureuacratic nightmare which is leaving some children without insurance (they aren’t allowed onto their parents’ Obamacare plan, but they also aren’t eligible for Medicaid, so they have no coverage anywhere), the Associated Press headlined the situation as follows: “HEALTH LAW TRICKY FOR PARENTS OF MEDICAID KIDS.” Those who go to the same article at the DC cbslocal.com web site will at least begin to get an idea of what’s really going on thanks to their replacement headline: “Many Children Unable To Be Included In Parents’ Obamacare Family Plans.” Content excerpts from Holly Ramer’s otherwise fine report, including an unbelievable response from government officials — scratch that, it was unbelievable until Obamacare came along; but now anything’s possible — follow the jump (HT to frequent commenter Gary Hall; bolds are mine):

Many Children Unable To Be Included In Parents’ Obamacare Family Plans

Families shopping for health insurance through the new federal marketplace are running into trouble getting everyone covered when children are eligible for Medicaid but their parents are not.

Children who qualify for Medicaid, the safety-net program for the poor and disabled, can’t be included on subsidized family plans purchased through the federal marketplace, a fact that is taking many parents by surprise and leaving some kids stuck without coverage.

A California man says he was given false assurances that his children could be covered by the same plan he picked for his wife and himself, and a Florida father says his daughter is going without coverage while he waits for answers.

And in New Hampshire, some parents who’ve enrolled in private plans for themselves alone are finding out later that their children aren’t eligible for Medicaid after all, leaving their kids with no options.

“The children are getting stuck in this spot where we’ve enrolled the parent, but we can’t bring the children back on the family plan,” Maria Proulx, senior legal counsel for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Hampshire, told a state advisory board panel this month.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services declined to say how the system is supposed to work for families and what problems have emerged. [*] But a regional manager for CMS acknowledged the problem at the same New Hampshire meeting and said the agency is working on it, as did Proulx in a later interview.

In North Port, Fla., Russell Clouden was thrilled to find a better, cheaper family plan through the new marketplace, then stunned to realize his 14-year-old daughter wouldn’t be enrolled because she might qualify for Florida Healthy Kids, the state’s version of CHIP. The federal government still hasn’t transferred roughly 90,000 Medicaid files over to Florida officials, including Clouden’s daughter’s, so she still doesn’t have insurance.

“Based on your income, they’ll separate your kids from your primary policy and they shift them off to Medicaid or Healthy Kids and there’s no way you can bring them back,” said Clouden, whose daughter is an accomplished equestrian jumper.

[*] – Likely translation: “The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have no idea how the system is supposed to work for families and has no idea what to do about the problems which have emerged.”

Gee, the kinds of serious anxieties Mr. Clouden is experiencing are exactly what Obamacare was supposed to solve once and for all. Uh, not exactly.

Here’s yet another example of Obamacare, this time in cahoots with Medicaid, increasing the number of uninsured instead of reducing it.

The AP national site’s headline writers deign to call this a “tricky” situation, apparently hoping that as few people as possible go past their misleading headline to get the gory truth: Obamacare is splitting up families’ insurance coverage.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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