Taking confusion out of healthcare reform

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT — So research indicates that the majority of consumers who would be eligible for new healthcare coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act have never heard of the state-based healthcare exchanges, and many believe they will need help in understanding healthcare insurance terms and descriptions. Really?

Of course! That's because it's confusing!

(THE NEWS: CVS Caremark research: Many consumers confused about potential changes to U.S. healthcare system. For the full story, click here)

Only about 6% of seniors who are eligible for a free Medicare Wellness Visit benefit Medicare received one last year, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. And now with the fate of the individual mandate hanging in the balance as the Supreme Court takes the debate to the "nth" degree and back, it's only bound to become more confusing for consumers. DSN believes that in the next two years health reform — The Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, or whatever name you give it — will be simplified rather than repealed altogether.

DSN has a suggestion for the individual mandate: consumers have the right NOT to purchase insurance; they also get to live with the result of that decision. So, if you have no health insurance and you wind up getting sick or injured and get stuck with $100,000 or more worth of medical bills, you get to own that debt. Want to go to the ER for strep throat? Fine. But then you foot the bill — not the rest of America. And everyone else gets access to an affordable insurance plan and they pay for it. Then people might understand these health insurance exchanges a little better.