Hot Topics in Health Care: Affordable Care Act Update

Now that we have a month under our belt, drum roll, please actually more like a shallow thud. According to the consulting company Avalere Health, only about 50,000 people have signed up for health care plans through the state-run marketplaces. This falls miserably short of the expected 1.4 million people expected to sign up by year’s end. The current state of the websites is so dire that many of the insurers are asking the White House if they can have subscribers directly sign up for the plans, instead of through the federal websites.

The White House is considering the request, but there are serious concerns about privacy, especially given the types of information that the insurers would be privy to. On the political front, many Democrats and Republicans are calling for a further extension of the individual mandate date, which requires most Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a tax or fine. In addition, there has been a call on both political sides to investigate why the federal run website,, isn’t working properly and why top political officials – which may include the president – were kept in the dark about the website’s security failures.

In great interest to elder lawyers like me, tens of thousands of Medicaid-eligible individuals have been prevented from signing up for Medicaid through the website because of the security failures. The federal government has been prevented from transferring the files to the state run Medicaid program, delaying people who are otherwise eligible.

As I learned in law school, sometimes it takes technology a while to keep up with the law and I recommend for those who are desperately trying to sign up for Medicaid or health insurance, to go “old school” and fill out paper, while all of the technology gets sorted out and keep logs of all your attempts to secure insurance, as you never know when you will find yourself in court trying to avoid paying fines or old medical bills.

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  • Michael LaMagna, LNHA, MPA, JD concentrates in the areas of Medicaid and Advanced Asset Protection Planning, Elder Law, Trusts and Estates, Probate and Probate Litigation, Guardianships, Health Care Regulatory Matters, Nursing Home Placement, Long Term Care Insurance, Medicare Appeals, Social Security/SSI Litigation and Special Needs Law. If you have a question for Mr. LaMagna, please call him at (914) 437-5955.