A Warning Letter to CMS for Obamacare “Misleading Advertising”

I subscribed to the CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) e-mail newsletters to stay up to date on what is going on and to make sure I get the information I need when it comes time to figure out what to do come October 1, 2013.

Well, yesterday I get an e-mail notice from CMS informing me of the “10 Healthcare Benefits Covered in the Health Insurance Marketplace.”  I’m redirected to a blog post on HealthCare.gov that has this wonderful list, especially for those who might need a lot of healthcare.  The list looks virtually “all-inclusive.”  The implication is that regardless of the plan or state I live in, once I pay the monthly premium, I get what’s on the list.  So, for example, item “# 6 – Your Prescription Drugs” are included.  The way it’s presented suggests that once I sign up for health insurance I will no longer have to pay for prescription drugs.  The same implication holds true for the rest of the list.  Choose my plan, pay my monthly premium and things on the list are paid for. Unfortunately, there is little detail and consequently this “advertisement” is very misleading, especially if you are not familiar with how the exchanges or insurance plans might work. No mention of cost variability, deductibles, or co-pays.

The blog clearly was designed to hype benefits while being intentionally vague about cost.   In fact, no mention of cost or cost variability is masterful copy-writing.   It creates an almost subliminal implication of “no additional costs” for “all inclusive coverage,” even for those of us who might sign up for the least expensive plan.   I may be wrong but I don’t think that will be reality and CMS knows that.

Maybe we should send CMS a warning letter for deceptive and misleading advertising.


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