I spent the last three days exploring our options regarding the ACA and Colorado's healthcare website they call Connect for Health Colorado (link here) and overall I give the experience a "B" closing to an "A".
At the beginning it was no big deal, got on but then had to go through what took about five F#@%~!&G hours to complete the Medicaid part of the application. The problem I see and if any Fed or CO or other state is listening a small piece of advice is provide an checklist of required documentation a submitter will need up front. It is what Turbo Tax does and what the GOP fail to understand this is not Amazon or EBay where one has a simple ecommerce transaction for one item. This is a big deal worth thousand$ of dollar$ and also could help or adversely affect your health and treatment. So essentially those who are applying are also applying for Medicaid to see if they qualify.
Now it gets more complicated with family members who are adults living under the household and either are or are not tax dependents, whether they have their own insurance or not, whether you have employer health care insurance or not, income, assets, education et cetera.
I can see why some Red states are really mad in that the Feds are going to sweep a lot of Medicaid eligible people into the system, their system, where they have not been helping citizens get the benefits they need.
In the end when I finally completed the Medicaid application we were denied...of course...but since we have a 25 year daughter living under our roof and on my wife's employer plan (until next October), where she has had a series of part time employment without any plan offered and is juvenile diabetic, and will complete her education with one last class next spring, she might do well to re apply. By the way if we discarded our employer plan for one in the exchange our daughter would have to apply for herself in that she is not a dependent on our taxes.
Now once I finished this it said to call the 800# and I got a very nice woman who pulled up the application and we went through it. It was one of her first experiences with a family with a employer paid plan seeking to look at the options so we went through and found that our income was in the range (unfortunately) to qualify for maximum tax credit to pay for premiums if we decided to go into the exchange BUT....there were issues.
Our daughter would have to apply on her own and because her birthday is in October they advised she apply before March 15th. Even though she has prospects and skills, odds are her employment will remain inconsistent.
Our son who is graduating this December will remain a dependent for 2013 but once or if he lands a job he will also have to apply on his own. But the biggest deal was whether my wife's single health care contribution from her employer was 9.5% or greater of her gross income. (We checked and it is not, so we are not eligible for tax credit). We found this out when a CO Agent called back and I inquired and she said that her best advice is to do nothing even though her employer is a school district that has risen premiums, deductibles, co pays, lowered service delivery over the last five years. (It used to be that when you worked at the government was the deal in part was you got paid less, but had great benefits, now it is get paid less, and benefits are diminishing.)
But if something changes we could get a Silver Kaiser plan for $3.94 a month. Then I asked what happens when my employer whom I am on a annual contract with will have to offer me health insurance in July 2014 (as I was notified) and what if their contribution rate is expected to be more than 9.5% of my compensation, then what? She said then because this would be considered an employment change, and you are being offered benefits you would be eligible for tax credit and then get insurance for yourself (and any dependents) through the exchange, but my wife would have to remain under her plan if her costs remain the same. Our family contribution coverage rate is double the employee rate. We could then save some money with the exchange.
Thank you I said this has been quite informative.
BTW after every session with a live person or on the website they send an email and wonder if you were satisfied with the experience.
Now there are fourteen states who made their own system and are serving their citizens. Not sure what the other 36 states are doing. But I will tell you that this is complicated decision process, with moving parts because of life and employers.