Catch 22: The Impact of Obamacare on Patients

Meeting with some of the healthcare industry’s best marketers earlier today, we discussed the Affordable Care Act and how it has affected our business.  Obamacare aimed to lower healthcare costs and get more Americans covered with health insurance, but that concept has proven almost too good to be true.  It’s become quite the Catch 22 for some patients.

We have seen a number of patients whose policies were cancelled as of December 31st, leaving them uninsured for months until their new coverage kicks in, which could be as late as March.  So, why are these people getting dropped from their coverage?  It is because their previous coverage, considered catastrophic plans, are no longer recognized by the federal government as suitable insurance. A number of these individuals are simply waiting to enroll in a new plan, or are waiting for government coverage to begin; but a significant amount are opting out of coverage entirely. 


Hence, the Catch 22. While the ACA made it possible for patients with preexisting conditions to get the coverage they need, it has also lead those who had coverage previously, to now go without.

Oh, I know what you’re going to say now. “What about that stinkin’ penalty fee for those rebels who choose to remain uninsured?”  It’s been rumored that Americans might get charged up to $1200 for refusing to pay for coverage, but in reality it is much less.  The penalty is supposed to be $95 or 1% of your annual salary and no one is really sure when the fees will be implemented.  This has led many Americans to think to themselves, “Well, I could pay $3400* for this coverage I don’t need, or I could just pay $95. Yeah, I’ll go with the cheaper option.”

This means the types of patients that practices will see will be a mixed bag of sorts as far as coverage goes.  Some will continue to be self-pay, some will have high-deductible plans and many will opt into government coverage. If your practice hasn’t yet, be sure to reach out to your state, to find out how you can get set up with a network for the Affordable Care Act. That contact information should be listed on your states’ government website.

*This is an estimate based on data found on