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Thread: A little Transparency at last

  1. #41
    Senior Member YardleyLabs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M&K's Retrievers View Post
    I'm afraid your wrong, Jeff. I've been marketing group programs to small employers (2-100 lives) for the past 35 years both as a general agent and agent. Employers provide benefits to their employees for two reasons. One is to attract quality employees and two is they need the coverage themselves. With the current high rate of unemployment, benefit perks are not as important to attract employees as a paycheck. Most employers would be glad to get out of the benefits business, rate increases, employees bitching about their free coverage, claim problems, which network to be in, etc. They would rather be making their widgets.

    I've talked with many employers over the past few months some of which are friends as well as customers and a lot tell me they would rather pay a fine and tell their employees to get their coverage from their Uncle Sam. I've said this on other posts but it wouldn't surprise me if the uninsured numbers didn't increase under the Dems plan.
    As I noted in my original response, employers need to get out of the business of providing health benefits to remain competitive. This is reflected in the fact that the percentage of employees covered by benefits is declining steadily, leaving more and more of the population with no coverage at all. That trend will continue with or without reform.

    In fact, I believe the drive to reduce health benefit costs is one of the major causes of employee outsourcing. Initially, this outsourcing was done in major corporations by hiring a significant portions of their staff through body shop consulting companies that offered only limited benefits. Eventually, they then moved to outsourcing those functions offshore to cut costs further. Companies like Microsoft, Oracle, AT&T, etc., moved substantial portions of their information technology staff (10-30%) offshore while an additional 5-10% remained as hourly consultants receiving few or no benefits.

    Based on continuation and acceleration of these trends, i expect that we will see employer health benefits eliminated or severely reduced over the next decade to the extent that less than half of the population will receive benefits through their employers. Those dropped from coverage will be those with the lowest incomes and most will join the ranks of the uninsured. Of course, that's probably a good thing since, according to the Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina, helping these people simply encourages them to reproduce.

    Establishing a health coverage mandate with employer penalties for failing to provide coverage will not accelerate this trend. Effectively, the cost of the penalties reduces the economic benefit of terminating coverage. With a lower benefit, fewer companies will implement the change -- that is simple economics. However, I reiterate that I believe employers must get out of the health care business completely. Let everyone buy their own benefits with or without some level of public subsidy. From a policy perspective, I would actually prefer to have health insurance excluded altogether as an allowable business expense.

  2. #42
    Senior Member cotts135's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HuntsmanTollers View Post
    They didn't give him or the republican minority everything they wanted because they both wanted tighter regulations of Fanny and Freddie. Guess they were wrong with that too?! The costs of Bush's 1st four years of office were escalated due to the expenses of 9/11. I don't care if the actions at the time were right or wrong, it was the decision made and followed. You could easily argue that if Clinton (who I voted for) had responded to previous terrorist attacks like the embassies, AQ would not have elevated to 9/11. Again, it doesn't matter because that is hindsight. I care about the decisions that are being made now because we can impact those decisions.
    Are you failing to see that the policies being enacted now are direct result of where we stand now? The reason we are where we are are because of Republican policies.

  3. #43
    Senior Member Buzz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hew View Post
    Have you been a Democrat for so long that your reflexive reaction to any proposal from Uncle Sam is, "What's in it for my wallet?"
    I wasn't the first one to start arguing pocketbook issues.
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  4. #44
    Senior Member Buzz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cotts135 View Post
    Are you failing to see that the policies being enacted now are direct result of where we stand now? The reason we are where we are are because of Republican policies.

    That's why they don't want to talk about the past. You can't bring up Bush without being told that he isn't president anymore, and they don't want to hear about him. What Bush did has nothing to do with the present, but when Clinton was president, all the economic growth was due to what Reagan had done. If the economy turned around tomorrow, you know it would be something that Bush did, not the current administration.
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  5. #45
    Senior Member Buzz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YardleyLabs View Post
    Based on continuation and acceleration of these trends, i expect that we will see employer health benefits eliminated or severely reduced over the next decade to the extent that less than half of the population will receive benefits through their employers.
    Last fall during renewal, our premiums were increased 49%. We can't do that for too many more years before be become uninsured ourselves.
    "For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required." -- Luke 12:48

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  6. #46
    Senior Member M&K's Retrievers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YardleyLabs View Post
    .

    Based on continuation and acceleration of these trends, i expect that we will see employer health benefits eliminated or severely reduced over the next decade to the extent that less than half of the population will receive benefits through their employers. ....

    .
    I have been hearing that prediction for the past 35 years and it will prove true if the federal government continues with it's proposed involment. As explained in an earlier post, it will be easier and less expensive for many to drop coverage and pay the fine. Some will even give raises to key employees to help offset the benefit reduction and still be ahead of the game.Like you said "simple economics".
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  7. #47
    Senior Member Gerry Clinchy's Avatar
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    It used to be that the overwhelming bulk of all health insurance was provided through the "Blues" and that all premiums were community rated. That is, all groups paid the same amounts without regard to individual group risk profiles. In return for accepting a regulatory structure that supported this approach, the Blues were also permitted to enter into cost based reimbursement structures with hospitals and other institutional providers
    So what would be the big deal with permitting non-profits like "the Blues" to operate across State lines? Right now insurance companies get licensed in each state in which they operate. There are some companies that do not operate in those states with more stringent licensing requirements, like NY or PA. It might be a whole lot easier to get states to get uniformity in their licensing of health care providers than to ask them to swallow a large Medicaid expense they don't have $ for?

    This would then give the for-profit insurors some competition without getting the govt involved in the insurance business. Blues already exist in many states, so the "structure" is already there.

    BTW, the Blues are further regulated by county! I live on the border between Independence and Highmark ... so if I chose a PPN I could not go to a local hospital or doctor that might be closer geographically, if it happened to be in the "wrong" county. That kind of stuff could be eliminated as well.

    One thing does puzzle me. On radio and TV there are lots of ads for hospitals; for specialties like heart or lung therapies and surgeries. If the reimbursement for these things is so "poor", why are the hospitals looking for more patients? There must be some profit in it They don't know whether the patients they attract will be covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurors (profit or non-profit).

    As with any other business, it can be useful to cover basic operating costs by fuller utilization of a factory/facility even if it yields a smaller profit than ideally desired.

    I would agree that health care coverage might be better served by NOT making employers the core of the system. Again, employers could always provide a cash incentive toward health care coverage, if they so desired. It could be based upon a %-age of the employee's compensation (up to $X) or as a %-age of their health insurance costs (up to $X).

    Not a bad idea to get employers out of the health insurance business. Free up time of HR employees for other stuff. Unions could negotiate how much $ the employer incentivizes for health insurance.

    Would these incentives be taxed? Seems logical. Then allow a deduction for health insurance costs on the employee tax return as well (for what the employee pays out of pocket).

    Employees would change jobs not just for the benefits, but for the quality of the employer.

    Please don't forget the Congress! Let them also pay for their health insurance! With all their other perks, they can certainly afford to pay for that if the rest of us do.
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  8. #48
    Senior Member M&K's Retrievers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buzz View Post
    Last fall during renewal, our premiums were increased 49%. We can't do that for too many more years before be become uninsured ourselves.
    My guess is that you considered or implemented eithor reduced benefits and/or increased the employees contribution to the plan cost. I also assume that you had your agent shop your program with other carriers only to find that your increased rates were still competitive with other plans available. I also suspect that you found out that there are not that many carriers willing to underwrite your business not the 100's of money making entities out there just waiting to get rich off of you.

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  9. #49
    Senior Member HuntsmanTollers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cotts135 View Post
    Are you failing to see that the policies being enacted now are direct result of where we stand now? The reason we are where we are are because of Republican policies.
    Not buying it. The reason we are where we are now is due to both parties. The housing market and bank collapse could have been reduced if the Democrats were willing to reel in Fannie and Freddie. Republican spending controls could have helped prevent the ballooning deficit. There is enough blame to go around. That being said, I don't like the solutions that are being pushed now. If having a debate over options causes our leaders to throw a hissy fit are they leaders or just a PR rep for their agenda?
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  10. #50
    Senior Member M&K's Retrievers's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=HuntsmanTollers;560588]Not buying it. The reason we are where we are now is due to both parties. The housing market and bank collapse could have been reduced if the Democrats were willing to reel in Fannie and Freddie. QUOTE]

    You're wasting your breath. The left on this board will not acknowledge the Dems and Barney Frank's refusal to address Fannie and Freddie's problems. It's all Bush's fault. He did it all by himself. I can't help but wonder how he could manage all of this when he is so stupid.[/I]

    Damn the torpedos, full steam ahead regards...
    Last edited by M&K's Retrievers; 02-01-2010 at 09:51 PM.
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