UPDATE: Texas House votes to force 1 million Texans to wear yellow star
Roughly a million Texans with government-subsidized health coverage could see a new label on their health insurance cards, and critics say the designation is akin to a “scarlet letter.”
But instead of Hester Prynne’s infamous “A,” insurance cards for Texans with coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act would bear the letter “S,” for subsidy.
Supporters of House Bill 1514 by state Rep. J.D. Sheffield, R-Gatesville, say it’s necessary to standardize insurance cards and clarify the type of health coverage a patient has.
Needless to say, I'm appalled.
Joan McCarter over at Daily Kos has already given a proper takedown of this utterly unnecessary & shameful bill.
UPDATE 5/27/15: Well, the Texas Senate has now passed the same bill, although they've slightly modified it:
The legislation, which already passed in the House, would require health insurers to label those insurance cards with "QHP."
The bill was proposed in order to address issues doctors may experience with a 90-day grace period established by the Affordable Care act for individuals who receive subsidies for their health insurance.
...Although the bill originally singled out individuals who received subsidies through Obamacare, the legislation passed by both the House and Senate would label the cards for all individuals who purchased a health insurance plan through an exchange.
Ah. See? They're not discriminating against Obamacare recipients receiving tax credits anymore; now they're discriminating against all Obamacare enrollees! That's MUCH better!*
*that was sarcasm, btw.
In some ways, while being just as offensive, this change actually makes less logical sense to me...because millions of people are enrolling in the exact same healthcare policies directly through the insurance companies, or in some cases are doing so through the ACA exchange without even realizing it via an authorized broker like eHealth, GoHealth and so on.
Update 2/19/21 (this is perhaps the longest period between a blog post & an update I've ever written). I've added a paragraph which at least explains the rationale for this move, even if it's still
According to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, if a patient who receives subsidies misses a payment, the individual has three months to catch up on payments before their policy is canceled. During the first month, the insurer must cover all claims. During the last two months, the patient’s claims are pending. If the patient catches up on premium payments, the insurance company will cover the claims. However, the insurer can cancel the policy if the patient does not catch up on payments, and the doctor must then bill the patient for any claims from the last two months, according to CMS.
...Obamacare requires that insurers notify providers when patients enter the grace period.
Hospitals & doctors can choose to either be in-network for a policy or not, but if they're in network, they should be required to take that plan whether it was enrolled in on-exchange or not.