Scott Gottlieb, Contributor
4/03/2013 @ 8:12AM |19,756 views
To Sign Up For Obamacare, Start Filling Out The Forms Now (And Hire A Good Accountant)
Want to apply for Obamacare this fall? Start the paperwork now.
The Obama Administration quietly released a draft copy of its “single streamlined application” for Obamacare. This is the form that the government will use to certify eligibility for the program’s subsidies. The on-line version of that form requires 60 printed pages to spell out all the queries.(A condensed paper version of the same application fills 21 pages).
And all this comes before you fill out your state paperwork to see if you’re eligible for Medicaid (and before you even begin to select a health plan). There’s also a separate form that you’ll have to give to your employer to complete for you.
What’s in the 60-page document? Most families of four will have to answer about 1,000 discrete queries by the time their done. Some of the information you won’t have ready access to.
Obamacare is a triumph of bureaucratic zeal. Now it has the paperwork to match its ambitions.
In order to make sure that consumers are eligible for government subsidies to buy coverage, the feds need to make sure that you meet certain income tests, and don’t have access to alternative health coverage through your workplace (or your spouses). So you’re going to need to answer a lot of questions about your income and employment status. Here’s a sampling of what you’ll need to know:
A lot of the information is personal: Is anyone in your house pregnant? Was anyone ever in foster care? Does anyone have a disability or need help with his or her activities of daily living. The feds want to know whether you might be eligible for stated-based Medicaid programs rather than the Obamacare exchanges.
A battery of questions deals with estimating your income and that of your spouse. How many hours do you work each week? How much money do you get from self-employment or a one-time windfall from capital gains or inheritance? How much do you get from “farming or fishing income?” Certain things, including child support, veteran’s benefits, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can be excluded.
Be aware: If the total income you’ve entered comes in too low relative to the government’s prior estimates of what you earn, there’s a battery of questions to ferret out where you might have made a (ahem) mistake. Has your wages or salary recently been cut? Is anyone in your household a seasonal worker?
To ferret out errors, the electronic form will also look for discrepancies between your application for Obamacare and your most recent tax return.
You’ll need a lot of information about your employer and any health plan they might offer. What is there EIN number? What are the name, number, and e-mail address for the person who handles health coverage at your place of work? You’ll also need the “name of the lowest cost self-only health plan” offered at your spouses workplace. But be careful here.“Only include plans that meet the minimum value standard set by the Affordable Care Act”(whatever that means).
Finished yet? Not even close. You’re only on page 37. http://www.forbes.com/sites/scottgottlieb/201...