Thursday, May 1, 2014

Obamacare Makes it Easier Than Ever to Free-Ride. Here Is a List of How Folks Will Game the System

This is from Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute writing in the Orange County Register:
... Obamacare makes being uninsured a low[er]-risk proposition than before. If you receive a serious diagnosis like diabetes or cancer while uninsured, Obamacare requires exchange plans to cover you, at the same premium as healthy people, no later than the following January. In many cases, you can get coverage even sooner. For example:
  • If you live in one of the 25 or so states implementing Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, like California, you can get coverage immediately by temporarily reducing your income below 138 percent of the federal poverty level, about $16,000 for single adults. Once January rolls around, you can enroll in an exchange plan and boost your income back to where it was. Depending on how often the state verifies Medicaid eligibility, you could return to your previous income even sooner.
  • If you don’t live in a Medicaid-expansion state, you can get covered immediately by moving to one, like this Idaho family did.
  • If you’re pregnant, you can get exchange coverage for both you and your child effective the day your child is born. You can enroll while you recover in the maternity ward. If you prefer immediate coverage for prenatal care and such, you can use one of the above strategies to enroll in Medicaid.
  • Newly married couples can get exchange coverage beginning the first day of the month following their nuptials, or even sooner. Just as some married couples get “Medicaid divorces” to qualify for government nursing-home subsidies, we may soon see uninsured singles with a sudden need for coverage entering into “Obamacare marriages,” and then divorcing when they become eligible to enroll on their own in January.
  • If you move to another state, or even within your own state, you can get exchange coverage beginning in about a month or less.
  • If you’re under age 26, you may be able to get coverage before January under a parent’s health plan.
  • Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik adds you can also get exchange coverage immediately by “get[ting] yourself fired.” ...