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ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Getting sucked into ObamaCare is a lot like being on probation

I got a cheery note in the mail from HHS about "life changes" that the grateful recipients of ObamaCare must "report"[1] the following "life changes." Be on the lookout for the real piece of fuckery, because it's not obvioius at first glance:

Life changes to report

You must report a change if you:

  • Get married or divorced

  • Have a child, adopt a child, or place a child for adoption

  • Have a change in income

  • Get health coverage through a job or a program like Medicare or Medicaid

  • Change your place of residence

  • Have a change in disability status

  • Gain or lose a dependent

  • Become pregnant

  • Experience other changes that may affect your income and household size

  • Other changes to report: change in tax filing status; change of citizenship or immigration status; incarceration or release from incarceration; change in status as an American Indian/Alaska Native or tribal status; correction to name, date of birth, or Social Security number.

When and how to report changes

You should report these changes to the Marketplace as soon as possible.

If these changes qualify you for a special enrollment period to change plans, in most cases you have 60 days from the life event to enroll in new coverage. If the changes qualify you for more or less savings, it’s important to make adjustments as soon as possible.

Important: Do not report these changes by mail.

You can report these changes 2 ways:

  • Online. Log in to your account. Select your application, then select “Report a life change” from the menu on the left.

  • By phone. Contact the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325)

Learn more from the IRS about how changes can affect the premium tax credit you may be eligible for.

Look. Wouldn't it be simpler if they just make ObamaCare recipients wear ankle bracelets?

As for the mindfuckery:

No, it's not that they say you've got to tell HHS about the "life change" and mention in passing that you've got to go incriminate yourself at to the IRS web site to find out the financial impact of the "life change" (and remember, if you're "on the bubble" with an income or eligibility issue, ObamaCare's defenders, even Kaiser, say you should game the system, so don't commit yourself with HHS before you check with the IRS; there are land mines everywhere!)

Yes, it's this. This is the real mindfuckery:

Important: Do not report these changes by mail.

You've got no record, and you've got no protection. If the website is down, or it doesn't accept your data, or the backend is still screwed up (which it is) you could get a shock when you find out what happened to your subsidy, in the best case, or be guilty of perjury, in the worst. It's madness to use a website for this information. And if you use the phone, be sure to record the call. There's no equivalent, now, of notarizing your paperwork and sending it to them, signature required and return receipt requested.

This after months in which the website didn't work, and the HHS has screwed up hundreds of thousands of accounts! If these people were worthy of my hatred, I'd hate them.

NOTE [1] Note this is totally a class thing. If your income is four times the Federal Poverty line, you don't get into ObamaCare anyhow. That means that the vast majority of the economists, and academics, and career "progressives," and lobbyists, and insurance company executives, and talking heads, and consultants who foisted this thing on us are not subject to the same onerous reporting requirements they impose on us. Shocker, huh?

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BruceMcF's picture
Submitted by BruceMcF on

Imagined Response: "But my employer provided health insurance policy has similar requirements"

Imagined Rejoinder: "And your employer pays Human Resources professionals to handle much of that for you."

All the world's a stage, the theater is on fire, and the lead actors are telling the audience that the smoke is a trick, they should stay seated an enjoy the show.

quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

I didn't realize it's even legal not to accept official on-paper type communications when a binding transaction is involved. :boggle: But it must be legal since the Obama administration wouldn't do something flat out illegal, right? Right?

By the way, kind of a dumb question, especially from a geek like me, but how do you record phone calls? I mean, obviously, you can buy recording equipment and stick it on the phone. But nowadays there must be more elegant solutions. Is there some way to pipe it through your computer and record? Or a record icon on your phone? If so, what kind of phone? (There isn't on my antique.)

quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

Interesting. Bit pricey for my purposes (recording I-hope-less-than-once-a-year calls to Time Warner Cable about their screwups). But good to know about for if it's essential.

Submitted by lambert on

$59. Could be worse, and could be worth it if it saves you thousands of dollars.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

jo6pac's picture
Submitted by jo6pac on

thought also, they are a public service after all;)

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

... because in some states you need the consent of the other person to record. Other states, like New York, allow "unilateral consent" (Orwell, I know), so you can tape someone without their knowing.

So, law geek question: what if in the process of creating the only reliable record of the change info you report - like a good little mindfucked consumer -- to an ObamaCare telephone person but that person is answering phones in a state where it is illegal to record, or you are in a state where it is illegal to record, without the other's consent?

Because in states where it is illegal to record without the other's consent it's a crime to do it. Wowzers. ObamaCare is like a chute into the criminal (industrial) system. Probation is a very good analogy Lambert. Except terms of probation are usually very clear, short and simple -- sort of like: probation conditions are to ObamaCare Change-Reporting conditions as Social Security Act (37 pages) is to ObamaCare (1000 (unread before legislated) pages)!

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

... to ensure the highest and most accurate quality of self-reporting my change(s) to ObamaCare."

"So, my cousin just moved to the next town - he's not on my policy but he's friends with someone who is. Do I need to report that to you?" Just f**k you, Obama, you miserable, sadist a**h**e.

Submitted by Dromaius on

From your link: Here is the loophole through which recording conversations with Health"care".gov is okay. The customer service people represent the government. They are "public officials". And using Lambert's very accurate analogy, they are our probation officers, so they are also "cops". '-).

Special considerations apply when recording police officers or other public officials. You may have a constitutional right to openly record the activities of police and other officials in public, so long as you do not interfere with those activities or violate generally applicable laws. For more information, see the section on Recording Police Officers and Public Officials.

Just make sure you're calling them while sitting "in public," on your doorstep or whatever ;-).

But I do not think citizens would ever be prosecuted for recording their conversation with Healthcare.gov or other "Exchange" representatives.

Submitted by lambert on

... doesn't mean I shouldn't hammer home the lesson once what I expected comes to pass. "Repeat, repeat, repeat" in blogging is like "location, location, location" in real estate.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi