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Uptick in Consumers Using ACA Coverage Expected This Week

Uptick in Consumers Using ACA Coverage Expected This Week

January 6, 2014 — Obama administration officials, trade groups and health care companies expect many U.S. residents who are newly insured under the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148) will start using their coverage this week, after using last week to learn about their plans and arrange initial appointments, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports.

According to "Healthwatch," there are concerns that people attempting to use their coverage this week might not have the coverage they expect, either because they have a different plan than the one they thought they selected or because they have not yet made an initial payment. However, insurers and some large pharmacies -- including CVS, Kroger, Walgreens and Wal-Mart -- are working to ease the transition by granting consumers some leeway in making the initial premium payments or giving customers who can prove they enrolled up to a month of medications at no initial cost.

David Simas, senior adviser at the White House, on a conference call Thursday said, "Like any transition, such as occurs every year, when people move from one type of plan to another, it requires a lot of coordination between pharmacies, insurance companies, hospitals, doctors and providers. That type of coordination is ongoing and will continue to ramp up over the course of the next week."

Meanwhile, the administration has launched a publicity blitz to highlight the law's successes, with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius uploading a YouTube video and writing an opinion piece Thursday. In addition, Simas' conference call included a woman giving personal testimony about how the law has benefitted her. Opponents of the law also are rallying, with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) writing a blog post calling the ACA "unworkable and unaffordable" and soliciting personal stories from people who have been adversely affected by the law (Easley, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 1/3)