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ducknwork
10-05-2010, 02:22 PM
We had our benefits presentation today at work. Here are the changes, some are required by Obamacare, some are a result of it, IMO.

Weekly premium increased another $12. ($12 less that I can spend at the grocery store to stimulate the economy)(IMO, necessary to cover extra costs in other areas)

$5,000,000 lifetime max eliminated (required)

Married or unmarried kids eligible until age 26 (required)

Copay increases from $25 to $35 (IMO, necessary to cover extra costs in other areas)

Preventative care 100% covered, no copay, no deductible (required)(But I'm paying for it anyway via higher premiums and other copays)

FSA card no longer covers over the counter medicine (not sure if this has anything to do with O-care, but it really sucks for us)

Gerry Clinchy
10-24-2010, 10:11 AM
This was the most recent health care thread, so I grabbed this one.
NY Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/24/health/policy/24exchange.html?th&emc=th

Seems like the health care reform will depend heavily on the states' health care exchanges ... and they come in a variety of flavors.



“Utah and Massachusetts may well serve as bookends for other states,” said Norman K. Thurston, the policy coordinator at the Utah Health Department.

The Congressional Budget Office (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/c/congressional_budget_office/index.html?inline=nyt-org) predicts that by 2019, about 24 million people will have insurance through exchanges, with four-fifths of them getting federal subsidies that average $6,000 a year per person. People with incomes up to four times the poverty level (about $88,000 a year for a family of four) will be eligible for subsidies.


If' the "average" subsidy per person is $6000/year ... what might the unsubsidized cost be per person?

It's not quite clear whether this 24 million is coming only from those presently uninsured or whether it might also include some who are presently insured, but who will change to a state-run "exchange" to save $ over their existing coverage.


The Utah Health Exchange organizes the market, allowing consumers to compare a wide variety of health plans sold by any insurers that want to participate.

In the Massachusetts exchange, known as the Connector, the state serves as an active purchaser, soliciting bids from insurance companies and negotiating prices and benefits in an effort to secure the best value for state residents. Health plans cannot be sold through the Connector unless they receive its seal of approval.


In Utah, the insurance companies design their own plans. In Massachusetts the govt must give approval to the plans proposed. Presumably, plans in all states would still have to meet the "minimum" coverage requirements dictated by the Federal legislation.



The federal law was shaped, to a large degree, by the experience of Massachusetts. But Senator Orrin G. Hatch (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/h/orrin_g_hatch/index.html?inline=nyt-per), Republican of Utah, said: “Utah is not Massachusetts. Nor does it want to be.”

Other states will probably fall somewhere along the continuum from Boston to Salt Lake City as they try to figure out the right mix of regulation and competition.




Congress assumed that insurance would also be sold outside the exchange. But federal subsidies, to help pay for insurance, will be available only to people who enroll in health plans through an exchange.


Now there's a good reason to change your coverage to an exchange. If your employer offers coverage, but requires that you pay for some of it, the exchange might offer you a better deal if you earn less than $88,000 for a family of four.



California is another pioneer. On Sept. 30, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/s/arnold_schwarzenegger/index.html?inline=nyt-per), a Republican, signed two bills establishing the California Health Benefit Exchange, with broad powers to “negotiate on behalf of the public” and select qualified health plans.




“Federal law will already limit the types of products that carriers can offer,” Ms. Cárdenas said. “Beyond that, the marketplace should determine what products consumers and small employers can purchase, not a government bureaucracy.”




The California law says the exchange should choose health plans that “offer the optimal combination of choice, value, quality and service.”


Tell me, again, just how this will expand consumers' choices. Consumer choice only applies after the govt has made its choices. Yup, I can hardly wait to see how politics will influence the govt choices. They are so good at evaluating, that almost every state is working with budget deficits. I'm sure they will do much better with health care. Right?



Under the new federal law, the exchanges must be in operation by January 2014. Federal officials will assess states’ progress as of Jan. 1, 2013, and will run the exchange in any state that is unable or unwilling to do so.


What a relief! The fellers in DC who could barely put together the Federal legislation will do this for you.



The exchanges will have a huge number of duties. They must evaluate health insurance plans and publish “standardized comparative information.” They must set up telephone call centers to answer consumers’ questions. They must determine who is eligible for subsidies and who will be exempt from the penalties imposed on people who go without insurance. They must build new computer systems to exchange data with state Medicaid agencies, insurance companies, employers and federal agencies.

While the exchange cannot explicitly control prices, it can exclude health plans that show a pattern of “excessive or unjustified premium increases.”


But what if some people can and do want those "excluded" plans since they can afford the benefits that would be provided, even at great cost to themselves. The govt doesn't tell you that you cannot buy a very expensive car (or boat, as seem to be popular with our wealthy politicians) just because it's expensive. And a health care program doesn't exactly have a carbon footprint to worry about.



Moreover, the law stipulates that members of Congress must get their health insurance through an exchange. So lawmakers will presumably be alert to problems.


So, fortunately, somebody did get this provision into the legislation!

This could be better than term limits! Those 10-term legislators may decide to leave Congress sooner :-) Or, if this whole thing doesn't work too well, they may actually be motivated to fix it!

depittydawg
10-24-2010, 10:20 AM
We had our benefits presentation today at work. Here are the changes, some are required by Obamacare, some are a result of it, IMO.

Weekly premium increased another $12. ($12 less that I can spend at the grocery store to stimulate the economy)(IMO, necessary to cover extra costs in other areas)

$5,000,000 lifetime max eliminated (required)

Married or unmarried kids eligible until age 26 (required)

Copay increases from $25 to $35 (IMO, necessary to cover extra costs in other areas)

Preventative care 100% covered, no copay, no deductible (required)(But I'm paying for it anyway via higher premiums and other copays)

FSA card no longer covers over the counter medicine (not sure if this has anything to do with O-care, but it really sucks for us)

Healthcare costs have been rising every year since I can remember. They have also been rising at about the same rate as your figures for this year. I do agree that you can blame the lack of healthcare reform by the Senate and Mr Obama for this years increase. Had they got it done right last year, you would have had more options. They didn't, so were stuck with essentially the same system we had before.

luvmylabs23139
10-24-2010, 11:42 AM
Healthcare costs have been rising every year since I can remember. They have also been rising at about the same rate as your figures for this year. I do agree that you can blame the lack of healthcare reform by the Senate and Mr Obama for this years increase. Had they got it done right last year, you would have had more options. They didn't, so were stuck with essentially the same system we had before.

We just lost 2 of our insurance options due to the future crap form Obama care. We were told that due to the changes from Obama care they have eliminated our high deductable plan options.:confused::confused::confused:

depittydawg
10-24-2010, 03:26 PM
We just lost 2 of our insurance options due to the future crap form Obama care. We were told that due to the changes from Obama care they have eliminated our high deductable plan options.:confused::confused::confused:

What insurance company?

Cody Covey
10-24-2010, 10:21 PM
Healthcare costs have been rising every year since I can remember. They have also been rising at about the same rate as your figures for this year. I do agree that you can blame the lack of healthcare reform by the Senate and Mr Obama for this years increase. Had they got it done right last year, you would have had more options. They didn't, so were stuck with essentially the same system we had before.

Mine went down $1 last year :)

dnf777
10-24-2010, 10:24 PM
Ours stayed the same.
It actually increased ever so slightly, but the employer (who also owns/operates the insurance company, absorbed the cost)
Go figure.
Probably a tax benefit to them?

Cody Covey
10-24-2010, 11:37 PM
Ours stayed the same.
It actually increased ever so slightly, but the employer (who also owns/operates the insurance company, absorbed the cost)
Go figure.
Probably a tax benefit to them?

I would assume thats what happened with ours as well.

ducknwork
10-25-2010, 07:05 AM
Oh, one more thing. We'll not be able to use our FSA card to buy OTC drugs now. That really sucks as that was a huge benefit. It is my understanding that this was due to Obamacare as well.

Gerry Clinchy
10-27-2010, 07:42 PM
These comments come from the PA "Commonwealth Foundation" ... which is a conservative organization, but they do have links to the items on their list about the health care legislation.

You Can't Keep Your Plan

Individual Mandate Disallows Many Plans: Despite President Obama's promise that Americans could keep their existing health plan, many will not meet new federal coverage mandates, which are on top of Pennsylvania's 52 coverage mandates. Any changes to a current plan (defined by the HHS secretary) would subject insured Americans to fines. About 51% of Americans are expected to lose coverage.

[This is about what happened in Massachusetts due to this type of state regulation of what were "acceptable" alternatives to the "State Plan" ... http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703298004574459101022338232.html

It's apparent that state health-care policies can change at the whim of politicians in Boston, and we might not be able to adjust to the new rules. The way we figure it, if we sign up for a state-subsidized plan we will be at the mercy of the state.


The mandate in Massachusetts was sold as something that wouldn't penalize people like my husband and me. But those political promises were only good for as long as it took to get the mandate enacted into law.

[This article is written by someone who has a plan through their former employer.]

Cuts to Medicare Affect Seniors: Medicare Advantage plans are being curtailed. The Center for Medicare Services is eliminating Medicare Advantage for 3 million seniors, and raising rates for others. The second largest carrier in Massachusetts dropped Medicare Advantage entirely. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has even complained about Medicare cuts in a July 21 letter to the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Health Savings Accounts are Undermined: PPACA regulations make HSAs impotent. For example, come 2013, HSA funds can no longer be used to purchase over-the-counter drugs and medicines without a Note of Medical Necessity (NMN) or a prescription from your doctor. It also remains unclear if high-deductible insurance plans qualify as "insurance" under mandates.

Employer Mandates Encourage Dropping: Employers that do not currently provide insurance will pay a new tax, and may pass on costs through pay cuts or job cuts. Because the employer mandate defines what type of plans may be offered, corporations like AT&T and Verizon have found it cheaper to dump employee healthcare and pay the tax (though the Obama administration indicated it might not enforce the mandates, after McDonald's talked about dropping its plan for 30,000 workers). The CBO conservatively estimates 9 million workers could lose employee provided coverage.

New Regulations Drive Up Costs: Across the county, health insurers are raising premiums to comply with new federal mandates. Connecticut insurers expect rates to increase over 30% due to bans on lifetime caps and other rules.

Less Insurance for Kids: Regulations establishing guaranteed coverage for children are already causing havoc with insurers refusing to write new individual policies for children in Florida, Oklahoma, and Kansas. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida calculated that the provision could raise premiums for individual policy holders by 20%.

Individual Mandate is a Tax: After denying, for public relations, purposes that the individual mandate was a tax, President Obama has now admitted, for legal reasons, that the individual mandate is indeed a new health care tax.

More Consumer Taxes: Those earning over $200,000 will see payroll, capital gains and interest, dividend income, and real estate transactions subject to higher taxes. With the expiration of the Bush tax cuts (i.e., scheduled tax increases), the top marginal tax rate will top 50% in 39 states. A 10% tax on tanning beds will affect all income levels, and is harmful to psoriasis patients, for whom it is medically recommended; it also will hurt small business owners. And a 2.9% sales tax levied on all medical devices is estimated to increase a family's premium by $1,000 a year. (Did anyone believe that the tax on medical devices would not ultimately simply be passed onto the consumer? I passed along an article a while back about what a mess Medicare makes of wheelchairs for the elderly. Can hardly wait to see how well this goes.)

More Business Taxes: This spring, Caterpillar posted a $100 million loss and John Deere $150 million, accounting for taxes on a previously tax-exempt federal subsidy designed to keep seniors on private prescription plans. Experts predict corporations lost a total of $14 billion. (Jeff has already mentioned that the Federal subsidies already amounted to a tax on the rest of us in order to buy prescriptions for the Caterpillar & John Deere employees ... so maybe this just turns out to be a "wash" for the taxpayers overall.)

Some of the "auxilliary" regulations that are involved are probably among those things Nancy P was including in what we would find out about after the bill was passed:

Candy Bars are Fattening: New regulation for the fast food industry demands the posting of the caloric intake on menus and vending machines, at a cost of $56.4 million in the first year.

More IRS Jobs Needed: In an effort to reduce underreporting of income, all corporations will be required to issue a 1099 form to every vendor from which they purchase more than $600 of goods or services. The IRS says businesses and charities will face significant burdens from the change, which may be ‘disproportionate' to any benefit. An estimated 40 million taxpayers will be subject to the requirement, including 26 million who run sole proprietorships. (I'll have to issue a 1099 to Staples if I spend $600 or more there in a year? Sounds like it.)

Small Business Tax Credits Not Helpful: Obama touted tax credits for small businesses to help them afford coverage for employees. NFIB estimates only two of the six million small businesses will qualify, as the credit drops off sharply. The tax credit is anti-growth-businesses get punished for hiring workers or increasing average annual pay over $25,000. http://www.redstate.com/brianfaughnan/2010/07/11/irs-new-health-care-law-imposes-significant-new-burdens/ (And the end result may be negligible additional income taxes paid! How much you wanna bet it costs more to collect than the amount collected?)

CBO Increases Cost Projections: In May, the Congressional Budget Office increased cost projections of PPACA to $1 trillion. The true 10 year cost is about $2.7 trillion and will add $325 billion to the deficit-leaving 30 million Americans uninsured and, according to one estimate, destroying a total of 120,000 to 700,000 jobs by 2019. (If you want to read the Cato Institute's 61-page report: http://www.cato.org/pubs/wtpapers/BadMedicineWP.pdf)

New Entitlement: The health care law creates the CLASS Act. This long-term care program is destined to become another entitlement. Workers would be automatically enrolled with the ability to opt out. Participants will pay a monthly premium, which they can use for home care by the age of 55. After 2029, the CBO predicts CLASS will increase deficits by tens of billions of dollars each decade.

The huge problem with legislation as mammouth as this one is that the regulations that are drawn up after the fact are going to be an immense maze.

Franco
10-27-2010, 08:04 PM
Obamacare will grow the size of The Federal Government to a size no one will be able to afford!

Just look at all the waste and theft now. Wait till the ever-expanding Federal Governemnt gets control of it.

And, they couldn't be doing this at a worse time economically. The only postive will be the undoing of the current administration.

How can anyone support the growth/size of the Fed Gov after what they have done to American citizens?

PEOPLE...THEY'VE LIED, CHEATED AND ROB US AND YOU WANT TO GIVE THEM MORE POWER! That is insane.

We've let these people rob money through Wall St, swindle our Social Security for votes and pass laws the MAJORITY OF CITIZENS do not need.

The size of the Federal Government is the source of our problems. Wake up America!