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Medicaid enrollments could hinder Obamacare
ALBANY -- The launch of online healthcare exchanges hasn't been a smooth process, and there's now a fear the number of Medicaid enrollees will bring the Affordable Care Act to its knees. One expert says if the trend continues, it could offer very few savings for insurance exchange shoppers.
In New York State, 37,030 people have enrolled. Over 13,000 are covered under qualified health plans they have selected on the exchange. But nearly two-thirds of enrollments, 23,717, are to Medicaid -- at no cost to them.
"Unless the bodies are there to support the system that are healthy and that are paying the system cannot stand on the strength of its own estimates," said Gerald Silberstien, an assistant professor at the Sage Colleges School of Management.
Silberstien served for many years as a research analyst for the New York State Health Department. Now he is an assistant professor at the Sage Colleges School of Management.
"If this continues i would expect that insurers would be looking for permission from the state agencies to raise rates next year," he said.
There may not be enough people enrolled to keep the pool price low. If not enough well and relatively young people are enrolled to insurance on the marketplace, Silberstien says they can't subsidize costs.
"You'd expect that people would do the application and then do their shopping for different types of policies and they might take their time settling on a policy," Silberstien said. In other words, people with more options will be taking more time to select their plan.
CBS6 spoke with a representative from the New York State Department of Health by phone late this afternoon. He said that the overall picture of enrollment isn't as grim. 174,000 people have completed the application process. 90 percent of those applications are for qualified health plans.