Affordable Care Act Initial Numbers

ACA 2Last week my son came to me with a report from the House Energy and Commerce Committee regarding payment from the federally run exchanges. Based on this report it showed that as of April 15, 2014 the estimated of people paying for their health insurance was 67%. This number is quite troublesome as CMS is estimating that between 80 to 90% of enrollees have paid their insurance. Before I even start discussing the significance of these numbers and the discrepancy between government agencies there is something I learned in college many years ago and that up to this time remains valid: “figures don’t lie, but liars figure”. In other words, a good mathematician/statistician can make the numbers say whatever they need. In addition to that you add the political twist and it becomes very hard to find out what the truth may be. Regardless of the potential manipulation of the data my concern is that whatever this number may be it means that we as healthcare professionals may have provided services for free. Even worst, if I receive payment for these services I may have to return the same. In what kind of world are you expected to take this kind of risk? I know that defenders of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may bring the point of the increase in paying customer as benefit of ACA; however, I know of more Practices that lost their contract with different insurance companies than those that gain any kind of patients. My point to the wise is: 1. Don’t trust any numbers you see unless you know the source; 2. Diversify your business as any dependence on any particular Payor may only cause headaches and potentially your business.