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Insurance Costs Under Obamacare - Page 6

post #76 of 739
Another Article on the "unintended" consequences of the health care law. My firm qualifies as a small business for the various current health plans. Our broker cannot answer me straight when I ask whether our current plans will suffice under the new healthcare law and will be cancelled or how much per person they will go up if they do qualify. While no one wants to acknowledge, let alone discuss it, we may be forced to stop offering health care and instead give people a stipend each month to go buy their own insurance. Again, I cannot get answers, but my gut says many small businesses are going to have to go this route to stay afloat.

Like your health care policy? You may be losing it

By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Associated Press | Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Many people who buy their own health insurance could get surprises in the mail this fall: cancellation notices because their current policies aren't up to the basic standards of President Barack Obama's health care law.

They, and some small businesses, will have to find replacement plans — and that has some state insurance officials worried about consumer confusion.

Rollout of the Affordable Care Act is going full speed ahead, despite repeal efforts by congressional Republicans. New insurance markets called exchanges are to open in every state this fall. Middle-class consumers who don't get coverage on the job will be able to pick private health plans, while low-income people will be steered to an expanded version of Medicaid in states that accept it.

The goal is to cover most of the nation's nearly 50 million uninsured, but even Obama says there will be bumps in the road. And discontinued insurance plans could be another bump.

Also, it doesn't seem to square with one of the president's best known promises about his health care overhaul: "If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan."

But supporters of the overhaul are betting that consumers won't object once they realize the coverage they will get under the new law is superior to current bare-bones insurance. For example, insurers will no longer be able to turn people down because of medical problems.

Other bumps on the road to the new health care law include potentially unaffordable premiums for smokers unless states act to waive them, a new $63-per-head fee that will hit companies already providing coverage to employees and dependents, and a long-term care insurance program that had to be canceled because of the risk it could go belly up

The Obama administration did not respond directly to questions about the potential fallout from cancellation notices. Instead, Health and Human Services spokeswoman Joanne Peters released a prepared statement saying: "Beginning in October, individuals and small businesses will be able to shop for insurance in the marketplace, where we are already seeing that increased competition and transparency are leading to a range of options for quality, affordable plans."

For the most part, state insurance commissioners are giving insurers the option of canceling existing plans or changing them to comply with new federal requirements. Large employer plans that cover most workers and their families are unlikely to be affected.

Seen as consumer safeguards by the administration, the new requirements limit costs paid by policyholders, and also expand benefits. That includes better preventive care, and also improved prescription coverage in many cases. The most important feature may be protection for your pocketbook if you get really sick: The new plans limit copayments and other out-of-pocket costs to $6,400 a year for individuals.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners says it is hearing that many carriers will cancel policies and issue new ones because administratively that is easier than changing existing plans.

About 14 million Americans currently purchase their health policies individually, a number expected to more than double eventually because of the new law's subsidies and one-stop insurance markets. But the transition may not be seamless.

"The impending changes ... have the potential to cause policyholder confusion," said a recent memo from Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart to insurers. Though a Republican-led state, Iowa is helping to carry out major portions of the health care law.

Nationally a considerable number of people could be affected by cancellations. Information from insurers is still dribbling in to state regulators.

In Washington state, the changes will affect more than 400,000 people, said Stephanie Marquis, spokeswoman for insurance commissioner Mike Kreidler. Marquis said she expects the premiums for replacement plans to be similar to current ones, but with better coverage.

"Your costs involve more than your premiums," Marquis explained. "It's also what you would have to pay out of pocket if you had actually used your health plan."

Others see an encroaching nanny state.

"You're going to be forcibly upgraded," said Bob Laszewski, a health care industry consultant. "It's like showing up at the airline counter and being told, 'You have no choice, $300 please. You're getting a first-class ticket, why are you complaining?'"

Obama's promise dates back to June of 2009, when Congress was starting to grapple with overhauling the health care system to cover uninsured Americans. Later that summer, public anxieties about changes would erupt at dozens of angry congressional town hall meetings with constituents.

"If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period," the president reassured the American Medical Association. "No one will take it away, no matter what."

At the time, some saw the promise as too broad, given that health plans are constantly being changed by the employers that sponsor them or by insurers directly.

Nonetheless, Democrats in Congress devised a complicated scheme called "grandfathering" to try to deliver on Obama's pledge. It can shield plans from many of the law's requirements, provided the plans themselves change little.

State officials said it has proven impractical in most cases for insurers to "grandfather" plans sold to individuals.

Questions and answers for Virginia insurers provided by state regulators say most carriers are expected to file new policies "given the extensive amount of changes resulting from state and federal laws."

A Washington state insurance department presentation for insurers says plans must mail their discontinuation and replacement notices to consumers by Sept. 15.

State insurance spokeswoman Marquis said, "I don't think it is necessarily a bad thing that they are going to be getting a replacement notice, because they going to be able to go out and shop in this marketplace and they'll be getting better coverage."
post #77 of 739
A panel implies more than one person. It's not a death panel if there's only one person making the decision.
Quote:
Lawyers for 10-year-old Sarah Murnaghan, who has been denied a lung transplant because of a controversial federal policy, say Health and Human Services' Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' decision to review the policy -- but not in time to save Sarah -- is unconstitutional.

Sarah would be at the top of the adult lung transplant list if she were 12, because she only has weeks to live and a lung transplant would as-good-as cure her of cystic fibrosis.

Organ Donation: Should Younger Patients Get Better Kidneys?

The Murnaghan family is fighting a little known organ transplant policy that is effectively pushing Sarah to the bottom of the adult transplant waiting list because it mandates that adult lungs be offered to all adult patients before they can be offered to someone under 12 years old.

Law firm Pepper Hamilton LLP wrote a letter to Sebelius on Monday calling the policy "unfair, arbitrary and capricious" and saying that Sebelius's failure to make an exceptionis is a violation of Sarah's constitutional rights to "due process" and "equal protection," according to a family statement.

Sarah's father, Fran Murnaghan, of Newtown Square, Pa., told ABC News Sunday that Sebelius' mandate for review of transplant policies would not deal with current cases in a timely manner, nor deal with what he characterized as an unequal system that discriminates against children younger than 12.

"Sarah is being left to die," Murnaghan said. "Not only Sarah, but there are many other children in the same situation.

"[Sebelius] clearly has the authority to do something now, and she has decided to do, to be honest, not much of anything," he said. "In my opinion, she has kicked the can down the political road."

"Secretary Sebelius' decision to not exercise her very clear authority under the law to intervene and mandate a variance that would help save Sarah's life is devastating," the family said in a prepared statement.

Sarah's family is asking the public to "consider naming our child an organ recipient should someone lose the life of a loved one in the very near future," they said in the statement.

"Our little girl, who loves writing music, making crafts, and playing with her siblings can honor someone's life by living on herself," they wrote.

Under the existing policy, children like Sarah are forced to wait for a lung transplant, despite her life-threatening illness.

In a letter sent Friday to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, Sebelius asked for the review to consider changing the policy to make more transplants available to children, The Associated Press reported.

Sebelius called the incongruity between donors and children in need of transplants "especially stark."

There were only 11 lung donors between 6 and 10 years old and only two lung transplants in that age group in 2012, according to an Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network statement.

Patients with cystic fibrosis, a genetic condition that damages the lungs, have an average life expectancy of 31 years old, said Dr. Devang Doshi, a pediatric lung specialist at Beaumont Children's Hospital in Michigan who has not met Sarah. But if they get a lung transplant, the condition is essentially cured.
post #78 of 739
This is a horribly written article that doesn't have any real sources or numbers, but I would not be surprised if there is a lot of truth to it. Nor will I be surprised when Obamacare is amended to exclude congressmen.

http://www.politico.com/story/2013/06/obamacare-lawmakers-health-insurance-92691.html?hp=f2
Quote:
Dozens of lawmakers and aides are so afraid that their health insurance premiums will skyrocket next year thanks to Obamacare that they are thinking about retiring early or just quitting.
The fear: Government-subsidized premiums will disappear at the end of the year under a provision in the health care law that nudges aides and lawmakers onto the government health care exchanges, which could make their benefits exorbitantly expensive.

Democratic and Republican leaders are taking the issue seriously, but first they need more specifics from the Office of Personnel Management on how the new rule should take effect — a decision that Capitol Hill sources expect by fall, at the latest. The administration has clammed up in advance of a ruling, sources on both sides of the aisle said.
(PHOTOS: Supreme Court upholds health care law)

If the issue isn’t resolved, and massive numbers of lawmakers and aides bolt, many on Capitol Hill fear it could lead to a brain drain just as Congress tackles a slew of weighty issues — like fights over the Tax Code and immigration reform.

The problem is far more acute in the House, where lawmakers and aides are generally younger and less wealthy. Sources said several aides have already given lawmakers notice that they’ll be leaving over concerns about Obamacare. Republican and Democratic lawmakers said the chatter about retiring now, to remain on the current health care plan, is constant.
(Also on POLITICO: Poll finds low Obamacare support)

Rep. John Larson, a Connecticut Democrat in leadership when the law passed, said he thinks the problem will be resolved.

“If not, I think we should begin an immediate amicus brief to say, ‘Listen this is simply not fair to these employees,’” Larson told POLITICO. “They are federal employees.”


The Affordable Care Act — signed into law in 2010 — contained a provision known as the Grassley Amendment, which said the government can only offer members of Congress and their staff plans that are “created” in the bill or “offered through an exchange” — unless the bill is amended.

Currently, aides and lawmakers receive their health care under the generous Federal Employee Health Benefits Program. The government subsidizes upward of 75 percent of the premiums for the health insurance plans. In 2014, most Capitol Hill aides and lawmakers are expected to be put onto the exchanges, and there has been no guidance whether the government will subsidize those premiums. This is expected to cause a steep spike in health insurance costs.

Lol, what a fucking asshole. It's not fair to federal employees, but it's fair to fuck all the rest of us in the ass, right? Fuck you in the face, Larson.
post #79 of 739
Quote:
Lol, what a fucking asshole. It's not fair to federal employees, but it's fair to fuck all the rest of us in the ass, right? Fuck you in the face, Larson.

As far as I understand, nobody in the private sector is being forced to go off their employer based plans and onto the exchanges. This extremely limited group of government workers might have to do that for purely political reasons ("Congress wants to opt out of Obamacare"), despite that statement not really reflecting the reality of how the system functions.
post #80 of 739
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibonius View Post

As far as I understand, nobody in the private sector is being forced to go off their employer based plans and onto the exchanges. This extremely limited group of government workers might have to do that for purely political reasons ("Congress wants to opt out of Obamacare"), despite that statement not really reflecting the reality of how the system functions.

I'm sorry but that just is not true. If your employer decides to drop coverage you are being effectively forced off it. We already know this was going to happen to companies with huge work forces, like McD's, but they gained an exemption to keep this from happening. In my mind when a law needs to be full of exemptions to keep a political promise the law is obviously flawed and the political promise is only being kept through machinations. Also, if your current healthcare plan is being replaced with an inferior one due to Obamacare you certainly have also been forced off your current, employer sponsored plan. The "Cadillac Tax" was designed to do exactly this and there are multiple reports it is working.

Mother Jones (to avoid VRWC) link:

http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/05/obamacare-cadillac-tax-high-end-health-plan
Quote:
In order to avoid the Cadillac tax, which goes into effect in 2018, employers are already searching for ways to scale back on costs, including cutting health benefits and increasing plan prices. (Employers are also amping up spending on preventive care services, which is a good thing.) And as Bradley Herring, a health economist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told the Times, these health plan changes will likely affect a lot of people, not just the well-off; up to 75 percent of plans could be affected by the tax over the next ten years. "The reality is it is going to hit more and more people over time," he says.
post #81 of 739
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibonius View Post

As far as I understand, nobody in the private sector is being forced to go off their employer based plans and onto the exchanges. This extremely limited group of government workers might have to do that for purely political reasons ("Congress wants to opt out of Obamacare"), despite that statement not really reflecting the reality of how the system functions.

What are you on? "Purely political reasons"? You mean like the law should apply to them as well? That's a "purely political reason"? In any rational society every single one of them would be denied health insurance because they have the pre-existing condition of being an asshole.

EDIT - And plenty of people in the private sector are going to lose their plans.

http://www.newser.com/article/da6j5bpo1/health-law-surprise-many-private-policies-could-be-canceled-because-they-dont-measure-up.html

Quote:
Many people who buy their own health insurance could get surprises in the mail this fall: cancellation notices because their current policies aren't up to the basic standards of President Barack Obama's health care law.

They, and some small businesses, will have to find replacement plans and that has some state insurance officials worried about consumer confusion.

Rollout of the Affordable Care Act is going full speed ahead, despite repeal efforts by congressional Republicans. New insurance markets called exchanges are to open in every state this fall. Middle-class consumers who don't get coverage on the job will be able to pick private health plans, while low-income people will be steered to an expanded version of Medicaid in states that accept it.

The goal is to cover most of the nation's nearly 50 million uninsured, but even Obama says there will be bumps in the road. And discontinued insurance plans could be another bump.

Also, it doesn't seem to square with one of the president's best known promises about his health care overhaul: "If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan."
post #82 of 739
Quote:
The president's former reelection campaign is pushing its supporters to "Stand up for Obamacare."

"Do you like Obamacare? Then I'm asking you to show it," writes executive director Jon Carson in an email to supporters this morning.

"Say you're on Team Obamacare, the group of grassroots supporters who will be spreading the word on how health care reform is improving the lives of millions of Americans -- and we'll send you a free bumper sticker to say thanks."

Carson adds:

People like you have been fighting to improve access to affordable health care since day one, because no one should ever have to go bankrupt because they get sick.

And even though Obamacare has been the law for more than three years, the other side is still trying to chip away at it. The House of Representatives has voted to repeal it 37 times, and conservative state legislatures across the country are passing laws that make it harder for their constituents to get access to affordable care.

So we're taking a stand.

Obamacare's not going anywhere. And neither are we.

Join Team Obamacare -- and tell us where to send your free bumper sticker today: http://my.barackobama.com/Join-Team-Obamacare

Thanks,

Jon

Jon Carson
Executive Director
Organizing for Action

Get your free bumper sticker here -

https://my.barackobama.com/page/s/join-team-obamacare-v1?source=em13_20130613_jc_misc&utm_medium=email&utm_source=obama&utm_campaign=em13_20130613_jc_misc
post #83 of 739
^ I've been seeing those bumper stickers. I make it a point to tailgate them (just kidding...)

http://money.cnn.com/2013/06/13/news/economy/obamacare-affordable/index.html?iid=HP_LN&hpt=hp_t2

So "affordable healthcare" means up to 6.4k out of pocket on California's "silver" plan on their state exchange.
post #84 of 739
Obama and his voters have destroyed the country.

Thanks bunches
post #85 of 739
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lighthouse View Post

Obama and his voters have destroyed the country.

Thanks bunches

I wish you were being facetious. But I know you speak truth.

But in honesty, Bush and Clinton and Bush and Reagan and pretty much everybody from the 20th century was pretty terrible too.
.
post #86 of 739
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piobaire View Post

I'm sorry but that just is not true. If your employer decides to drop coverage you are being effectively forced off it. We already know this was going to happen to companies with huge work forces, like McD's, but they gained an exemption to keep this from happening.
Not sure I'm following you here. Employers choosing to drop health coverage becomes the fault of Obamacare? Because of increased costs, or what?

There's no statutory obligation from Obamacare telling any company (so far as I know, correct me if I'm incorrect on this) that they must drop their employee's health care coverage and place them on the exchanges. That's pretty directly what Harvey was saying Congress ought to be doing to "follow the law."
Quote:
Also, if your current healthcare plan is being replaced with an inferior one due to Obamacare you certainly have also been forced off your current, employer sponsored plan. The "Cadillac Tax" was designed to do exactly this and there are multiple reports it is working.

Mother Jones (to avoid VRWC) link:

http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/05/obamacare-cadillac-tax-high-end-health-plan
That's certainly true, but they can still offer you something.

Also, I've read a few articles about this. Evidently, upon some further analysis, Democrats have become concerned about the implementation of the Cadillac Tax (among other facets of Obamacare) and have tried to get changes through. Republicans refuse to consider any changes other than "Total Repeal", although such changes are routine for large bills. There are some parts of Obamacare that are just straight up bad ideas, others that are decent ideas poorly implemented (Cadillac Tax). Refusing to fix the latter category to try to make the bill work poorly is unfortunate.


Quote:
What are you on? "Purely political reasons"? You mean like the law should apply to them as well? That's a "purely political reason"? In any rational society every single one of them would be denied health insurance because they have the pre-existing condition of being an asshole.
Like I said to Piob, I'm not so clear on what exact facet of "the law" you think Congress isn't following here. So far as I know, employers are allowed to pay for health insurance for their workers with limited exceptions for stuff like the Cadillac Tax. Why shouldn't Congressional employees be able to do the same? Where's the hypocrisy here?

Quote:
Many people who buy their own health insurance could get surprises in the mail this fall: cancellation notices because their current policies aren't up to the basic standards of President Barack Obama's health care law.
Eliminating some of the high deductible plans was a poor decision for sure. Should be an option people can choose.
post #87 of 739
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibonius View Post

Also, I've read a few articles about this. Evidently, upon some further analysis, Democrats have become concerned about the implementation of the Cadillac Tax (among other facets of Obamacare) and have tried to get changes through. Republicans refuse to consider any changes other than "Total Repeal", although such changes are routine for large bills.

I back the Repubs on this. They rammed it down everyone's throat, blatantly bought off a few key Repubs with pork, and thought the Repubs would choke on it. Now it's sticking in their craws so they should not be surprised the Repubs are saying, "Our turn now. Fuck you."
post #88 of 739
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piobaire View Post

I back the Repubs on this. They rammed it down everyone's throat, blatantly bought off a few key Repubs with pork, and thought the Repubs would choke on it. Now it's sticking in their craws so they should not be surprised the Repubs are saying, "Our turn now. Fuck you."

Do they still counts as key Repubs if none of them stayed bought long enough to vote for the bill?

I'm just seeing this whole thing as one more facet of continued bad policy for the sake of politics. It bothers me from either side and there's been way, way too much of it of late.
post #89 of 739
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibonius View Post

Do they still counts as key Repubs if none of them stayed bought long enough to vote for the bill?

I'm just seeing this whole thing as one more facet of continued bad policy for the sake of politics. It bothers me from either side and there's been way, way too much of it of late.

I'm with you about the bad policy for the sake of politics. That's exactly what Obamacare was. Live by the sword, die by the sword. And let's face it, these changes the Dems want are only changes designed to benefit their constituencies, i.e. unions and Cadillac plans, so it's just the very thing you're complaining about.
post #90 of 739
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibonius View Post



Also, I've read a few articles about this. Evidently, upon some further analysis, Democrats have become concerned about the implementation of the Cadillac Tax (among other facets of Obamacare) and have tried to get changes through. Republicans refuse to consider any changes other than "Total Repeal", although such changes are routine for large bills. There are some parts of Obamacare that are just straight up bad ideas, others that are decent ideas poorly implemented (Cadillac Tax). Refusing to fix the latter category to try to make the bill work poorly is unfortunate.

Or, you know, maybe they fucking should have fucking read the fucking thing before they voted on it.
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