As this month's issue of EBN is arriving in your mailbox, let us hope that the world indeed has not gone to hell in the proverbial handbasket - October 1 being one of those first, tangible deadlines for the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provisions: the official launch of the public health care exchanges. As Managing Editor Andrea Davis discusses in her story on page 14, that symbolic first step has, like the other deadlines looming on the very near horizon, sent many in the industry into a tizzy.
All of this pre-reaction to change is entirely understandable considering the mass confusion still lingering about many of the actual details. My only advice is to - like those terrible Internet memes - keep calm and see what happens. Mark my words: 2014 will be much weirder. As will the years to follow.
You've already seen how fluid and anxiety-laden this massive change in American health care has been, so far; as a Canadian-born journalist and editor who's lived in the United States for the past 15 years, I like to tell my American friends that they will be in for some interesting changes as the U.S. makes its own, bold experiment with quasi-universal health care. (Word to the wise: All that stuff about waiting lists and unevenly allocated care in the Great White North is absolutely true.)
This is perhaps a good opportunity to introduce myself, as well, as I have taken over as EBN's Editor-in-Chief. After moving to the U.S. and working on a variety of consumer and specialist publications, I spent the last six-plus years getting to know the financial services and benefits fields for a series of business magazines and websites based in Colorado. My most recent area of specialization was the fascinating (and equally confusing) world of retirement and retirement planning, where pensions, 401(k)s and ETF allocations all serve to seriously cloud a newbie's mind.
We must remember that this is how every single employee/participant feels when they're confronted on their first day with that phone- book-sized orientation package and given a one-hour overview to make benefits choices that could follow them throughout their entire career. Still, you (or your firm's HR team) are a professional, and you've learned how to both hit the salient points and not cause a total mental meltdown - as you may be experiencing that yourself as you wait for the other shoe to drop on the latest ACA change-du-jour.
And believe me, despite all the confusion, minor chaos and headaches, it truly is a more safe and noble world to have a few too many rules about benefits choices, rather than the alternative. HIPAA stipulations can be ugly (as Tristan Lejeune talks about in his piece this issue), but you don't want to be on the outside looking in - where the unemployed and uninsured don't enjoy the same far-reaching protections. I have a heart-warming story about that which I can share at another time.
In the meantime, welcome - and get ready for an exciting fall and winter. I am sure it is not going to be boring, at the very least.
Send letters, queries and story ideas to Editor-In-Chief Andy Stonehouse at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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