LET’S START WITH SOME CHEAP PIZZA: Courtesy of Slickdeals, we learn that online pizza orders get 50% off with the code SUM50 at Papa John’s.
FREE CLUB CARLSON GOLD STATUS?: Apparently Delta Skymiles members may be eligible for Club Carlson Gold status. Delta Points has the story.
GAMING THE OBAMACARE SYSTEM: First off, a word about politics. I’m going to touch on Obamacare today, but there is no intent to be partisan on my part. There are about a million political websites already, and the world does not need another. My interests lie in financial deals, gaming the system, behavioral outliers, and suchlike.
And that, not politics, is what brings me to Obamacare today. Here’s Forbes:
If you’ve been following the latest news around Obamacare, you know that on Tuesday evening, just before the Independence Day holiday, the White House announced that it would be delaying the implementation of the health law’s employer mandate—requiring all firms with more than 50 employees to provide health coverage to their workers—until 2015.
According to the law, you aren’t eligible for Obamacare’s subsidies if your employer has offered you what the government considers “affordable” coverage. But if employers are no longer going to report whether or not they’ve offered “affordable” coverage, how can the government verify whether or not workers are eligible for subsidies?
Now we know the answer. The government is going with what Kliff and Somashekhar call “the honor system.” “We have concluded that the…proposed rule is not feasible for implementation for the first year of operations,” say the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “The exchange may accept the applicant’s attestation regarding enrollment in an eligible employer-sponsored plan…without further verification, instead of following the procedure in §155.320(d)(3)(iii).”
And it’s not just there. The feds will also allow people to gain means-tested subsidized coverage on the exchanges without having to…test their means. “For income verification, for the first year of operations, we are providing Exchanges with temporarily expanded discretion to accept an attestation of projected annual household income without further verification.”
Hopefully I don’t need to say this, but lying to obtain government benefits isn’t really my thing and I certainly don’t condone it. At the same time, people who read this blog and others in the points-and-miles-o-sphere are savvier than most about how human beings respond to incentives. We recognize that if there is a system to be gamed, it will be gamed, even if we personally have no interest in doing the gaming ourselves.
I’m wondering three things:
- How much will this one flaw be exploited?
- How many other flaws, loopholes, and exploits will be uncovered?
- How many of the loopholes will be of a more legal and ethical nature, and thus of interest to readers of this blog?
I’m guessing that both (2) and (3) will be greater than zero, as complexity and gaming the system go hand in hand. Time will tell.
A REMINDER OF WHY WE GAME THE POINTS-AND-MILES SYSTEM: Hack My Trip has a nice trip report on a Cathay Pacific first class flight from Hong Kong to New York. It’s nice to see what you can get by being smart with your miles and points, and author Tahsir Ahsan is apparently quite smart in these matters.