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By: Nicola Heredia, CHS Marketing Coordinator

Errors in subsidies that were granted to Americans through the health insurance exchanges is the latest issue to arise in Obamacare. Approximately 2 million individuals have problems with their original insurance application, which may result in overpayment of subsidy funds.

When health insurance exchanges were first created, the idea was that subsidies would be used to ensure that insurance policies were affordable for Americans. The amount the government would subsidize the policies was dependent on income and other variables reported.

During the application process, people would have to input various personal information so that they government subsidized funds could be granted.

“While most data matched up right away during the application process, we take seriously the cases that require more work and have a system in place to expeditiously resolve these data inconsistencies,” report Julie Bataille, communications director for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in Washington Post article.

Due to human error, technical issues and people’s lack of experience with the new system, mistakes were made during the application process that led to funds being distributed incorrectly. Although the Obama administration had planned on developing a system that would validate the information, they failed to create any sort of software that would accomplish this.

“The longer it takes and the more months go by, the more serious the consequences of any error that may have occurred,” said Judy Solmon, vice president for health policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, in a Newsmax article.

According to a Fox News report, there are between 1.1 million to 4 million applications that have income discrepancies. Additionally, there are approximately 1 million applications where citizenship or immigration status has not be verified.
All of these millions of Americans with application issues are still receiving health care through the exchanges and being granted government subsidies to ensure their policies are affordable.

“Administration officials allowed applications to be processed before the information provided was fully vetted and verified,” said Committee Charman Fred Upton, in an article posted on The Hill. “What’s worse is the system to process these discrepancies is still incomplete, leaving an antiquated mail and phone system to address the millions of questions in applications.”

In June, the government began sending out notices requiring applicants to provide additional evidence to back up the information that they originally reported in their applications. The main issues the government needs to account for relates to income, citizenship, immigration status and social security numbers.

The notices claim that failure to produce evidence to demonstrate their eligibility for the insurance policy will result in losing their marketplace coverage. Since it has taken this long, it is unlikely that individuals will lose their plan in 2014.
If funds were incorrectly granted, Americans will be required to repay the amount in the next year. Since these individuals are receiving subsidies due to low income, experts are concerned that the overpayments will never be paid back.

“I have this sick feeling that there are these people out there who have made unintentional errors,” said Jessica Waltman, senior vice president for governmental affairs at the National Association of Health Underwriters, in a Washington Post article. “And in a few years will be subject to massive tax bills.”

Although it may take a while to figure out the subsidy errors within the marketplace exchanges, it will eventually catch up with Americans. For those who already are considered low income, it is not feasible to expect them to reimburse the government thousands of dollars.

Failure to validate and qualify applications has resulted in potentially over a million people receiving the incorrect amount of federal subsidized money. Without an operational system in place to rectify the mistake, there appears to be yet another road block to Obamacare successful operating.


By: Nicola Heredia, CHS Marketing Coordinator

Striking a balance between work and home life is a constant challenge that individuals face on a daily basis. Committing to being successful at both is a difficult task to accomplish, but having realistic expectations can help achieve this balance.

“For employees, work-life balance is a necessity to being successful in the workplace,” said Dr. Garnett Newcombe, co-founder of CEO Real Talk, in a Business News Daily article. “One of the biggest obstacles facing employees that want to achieve work-life balance is a lack of ability to prioritize and balance their work and family life.”

In recent years, the U.S. job market has been somewhat tumultuous, forcing those working to feel under pressure to show their dedication to their current company in order to remain employed. Being available and committing to work has at times required individuals to give up their own personal time, which can lead to more stress and anxiety.

Randstad recently released a study that examined U.S. employees’ perception of the workplace. The organization reported that approximately 45 percent of workers feel obligated to respond to emails after work hours. Similarly, 47 percent of respondents felt guilty if they do not work at home while sick.

“In my experience people often feel the need to be accessible at all times to demonstrate their commitment to the job,” said Craig Cincotta, vice president for in a CNN article. “Answering email at 3 a.m. becomes a badge of honor. When that becomes the societal norm, it makes it hard for people to find a healthy work-life balance.”

The study’s results suggest that employees feel it necessary to be available to their companies at all times, demonstrating why finding any sort of balance is difficult. Over a third of the respondents even felt it necessary to check email while taking vacation to ensure they would not fall behind in their work.

Employees’ inability to unplug when it is appropriate may be the very reason why it is so hard to engage in home life with work encroaching in on that time. The advancements in technology have also made work even more accessible since emails can be viewed at any time.

“You should avoid being available all the time to everyone, or available to no one,” said Mike Pugh, vice president of marketing at i2 Global in a Business News Daily article. “Use technology to make yourself accessible in the right ways to the right people at the right time.”

Technology, in addition to a changing work environment, has made it acceptable and possible to be accessible to an individual’s company or clients at any time of the day. Consciously deciding to switch off work in order to enjoy home life is plausible.

In an article by Business News Daily, Newcombe and Kay Woods, the other cofounder of CEO Real Talk, developed five different approaches to improving work-life balance.

  • Determine what role work plays in your life.
  • Identify a supportive, core group of individuals that will help maintain your overall well-being.
  • Keep work and personal schedules on one calendar to give the full picture.
  • Slow down and breathe to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
  • Be in the moment and devote attention to the task at hand.

These are a few simple methods that can be implemented in order to develop a healthier balance between work and personal life. Learning what works best for each individual is important.

“We cannot expect a ‘one size fits all’ approach to the solution,” said Cincotta. “Whatever the solution people fundamentally develop as their own, they need to identify and respect the boundaries required to make it effective.”



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