Monthly Archives: July 2013

PPACA to Congress: Come and join the waters fine

The Volokh Conspiracy » Lawmakers Upset with PPACA as It Applies to Them.

Cry me a river. Perhaps they were in a little too much of a hurry to pass the bill so they could find out what’s in it. The “hurry to pass the bill” issue is also addressed at the link.

The bottom line is the law dictates that the politicians and their staff must purchase through their state exchanges but there is no mechanism for them to be reimbursed as they are now.

Well Congress, you’re not the only people with this problem. Just wait until you hear from families tha are affected by the “family glitch”. You can learn more about the Obamacare family glitch here and here.

Prediction: Chaos


Md. consumers could see 25-percent premium increases under ObamaCare – The Hill’s Healthwatch

Md. consumers could see 25-percent premium increases under ObamaCare – The Hill’s Healthwatch.

The cheapest policy available to a 25-year-old in Maryland will cost roughly $114 per month, according to the state’s rate filings. That’s among the cheapest rates in the country for a comparable policy, even though it still represents an increase compared with bare-bones policies on the market today.

I would categorize this as in the “good news” category, at least on the surface,  for affordable health coverage. If your a “geek” or a “wonk” the rate filings link above makes for interesting reading.

I wonder the following:

  1. Are Marylands definitions of the 10 Essential Health Benefits (EHBs) less stringent than other states?
  2. Are all the assumptions mentioned in the rate filings document that led to the rate reductions valid?

We’ll find out when the insurance companies file rates for 2015. With hard data we’ll find out if the Maryland Dept. of Insurance’s big stick was right or if the insurance carriers have the data and are now carrying the big stick.




White Castle On Obamacare

White Castle On Obamacare: We May Only Hire Part-Time Workers.

The restaurant chain has no intention of firing members of its current full-time staff or reducing benefits as a result of President Barack Obama’s new health care law, Richardson originally said in an interview NPR published Wednesday.

Yet Richardson told HuffPost that it must consider all options with the company’s healthcare costs set to rise 35 percent once the law is implemented.

How many people are covered and how much does it cost?

White Castle employs around 9,600 workers nationwide and about half work full-time. Roughly 80 percent of White Castle’s full-time employees opt in to the company’s current health care plan and the company spends four to five times more in health care than it makes in net income annually, Richardson said.

This is mind boggling. The company already spends 4 to 5 times MORE on health care than it makes in annual net income and those costs are set to rise 35%. WOWZA!


the real heroes of the anti-Obamacare effort are the governors who refused to set up the unwieldy exchanges

Jennifer Rubin: GOP governors take on Obamacare’s exchanges.

The weakest link in Obamacare’s chain is the exchanges, and governors who oppose this monstrous bill should stick with their approach — not to lift a finger. Next, it would be helpful if, while helping to oversee Obamacare’s demise, GOP governors could put together a health-care proposal that is workable. Then they’d have something to show their voters when Obamacare crashes and burns. Simply letting the law die might not be enough to absolve them of responsibility for the worst-crafted legislation in memory.

When the window of opportunity opens, the GOP better have a well oiled, keep it simple stupid plan, to slide into place.

Here’s a hint: Purchasing insurance across state lines is not a good solution. It could possibly to a part of a well constructed plan but not a cornerstone. Not that they’re listening to me or anything.


Dems Offer Free ‘I HEART ObamaCare’ Stickers

Dems Offer Free ‘I HEART ObamaCare’ Stickers.

The DCCC has over 112,000 followers. Just 31 retweeted the message. This could be an ominous sign for Democrats. In a recent poll, just 36% of Americans believed the law would help the middle-class.

Even a perfect implementation of a law as complex as ObamaCare would spark some level of confusion, misunderstanding, and pain. Unfortunately, the implementation of ObamaCare is very far from being perfect. Already, Obama has delayed two important components of the law, the most significant being the delay of the employer mandate.

The employer mandate delay will drive even more people into the federal and state health insurance exchanges, which are scheduled to open on October 1. Because of coverage mandates in the law, premiums for individuals will be higher than those currently offered. Those premiums could skyrocket if young and healthy people decide against purchasing the expensive insurance. The fine for failing to buy insurance is just $92 in the first year.

The DCCC deserves some points for accepting their fate on the law. I don’t expect a lot of Democrat candidates to scoop up their bumper stickers, however.



Fatally flawed Obamacare

says former HP CEO Carly Fiorina.

Can Obamacare be fixed before it’s fully implemented?

Oh I think we really have to fix it. And I think you fix it by repealing and then enacting really sensible reform. And in order to get the votes to repeal it you have to give the American people an idea of how it’s going to be reformed.

But this to me is a classic case of a bill getting oversold in very simple terms. If you like what you have you can keep it and all the people who don’t have something are going to get something essentially for free. And then this incredibly complex bill was written to basically manage a sixth of the economy. Of course it’s a trainwreck. (emphasis added)

We have to fix it, we just can’t let this play out because one of the things we know is that once a government program is enacted it’s exceedling difficult to ever get rid of it. We just can’t get to that place.


Watch the whole thing…



Brevard County to cut back hours for some part-time employees

Brevard County to cut back hours for some part-time employees |

Hundreds of part-time Brevard County workers have had their hours cut as the county prepares for the implementation of Obamacare.

By 2015, Obamacare will require the county to provide health care for anyone working more than 30 hours per week, which means lots of companies are cutting back the hours of part-time employees.

Brevard County has over 300 part-time workers, many of whom are in the library and parks systems.

While officials don’t necessarily want to reduce hours for those employees, they’ll be forced to unless the county wants to pay for full-time health benefits.

Health benefits for each of Brevard’s part-time employees would cost about $10,000 per employee.

Oh, that would be a $3 million hit to the Brevard County budget!

I spend a lot of time in Brevard County many (many) years ago. Lots of fond memories.


What My Dog Taught Me About Health Insurance

What My Dog Taught Me About Health Insurance – Megan McArdle Bloomberg.


The coverage…

For starters, we didn’t get Fitzgerald comprehensive, soup-to-nuts coverage. As far as I know, no such thing exists for dogs. What we got him was a basic, high-deductible policy that costs $60 a month. The deductible is $1,000 per condition, not per year; after the first $1,000, everything is covered. There is no coverage for basic services like annual vet exams, vaccinations, heartworm, or whatever.

On the other hand, there is coverage for things like chemotherapy and kidney transplants; this isn’t a ripoff. It’s insurance that covers some very expensive health conditions with no lifetime caps; they’ll even give us hydrotherapy if he turns out to have hip dysplasia. We view the insurance as very cheap for the price. Especially when you consider the education it’s given me in how to think about health care.

Read the whole thing


Many state run high risk pools to close

Time To Get Out Of The High-Risk Health Insurance Pool? : Shots – Health News : NPR.

The problem…

The online health insurance marketplaces can’t open soon enough for Chris and Kristi Petersen. Enrolled in the Iowa high-risk insurance pool because insurers on the private market won’t cover them, the couple pays more than $1,300 each month for a plan with a $2,500 annual deductible and a 20 percent copay for medical services. It’s more than they can afford.

“At the end of this year, these exchanges are either going to have to offer some relief, or I’m just going to quit working and let the welfare take care of us,” says Chris. “I’m fed up with it. I’m fed up with insurance.”

The potential solution

Starting next year, insurers will no longer be able to deny coverage to people because they’re sick, and high-risk pools will no longer be necessary for those patients.

Although shuttering high-risk pools will likely cause anxiety for those who rely on them, people may well find better, more affordable coverage on the state-based marketplaces (also called exchanges), which will open in October to offer plans that start in 2014.

“It’s likely that the premiums will be lower on the exchanges, the deductibles will be lower, and there will be no annual or lifetime [benefit] maximums,” says Jean Hall, director of the Institute for Health and Disability Policy Studies at the University of Kansas.

In addition, people who have incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level ($45,960 for an individual in 2013) may be eligible for subsidies on the exchanges to make coverage more affordable.

The risk pools will have to close in self defense. Most people will leave voluntarily and at that point they will not be able to function from a financial perspective.

It sure would be nice to understand why the Petersen’s are uninsurable. Sometimes it’s a matter of working with the right insurance company, sometimes not.

Assuming a legitimate medical issue such as diabetes, heart attack, cancer, etc, to me, this is the problem health care reform is, or should be, trying to address.

This statement from Chris Peterson I also find troubling…

“At the end of this year, these exchanges are either going to have to offer some relief, or I’m just going to quit working and let the welfare take care of us,” says Chris. “I’m fed up with it. I’m fed up with insurance.”

I’m not debating the “fed up with insurance statement”. I’m concerned about “let the welfare take care of us”. If Chris is willing to quit his job yet keep his family income slightly above 133% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), he can maximize his subsidy and also receive additional Silver Plan benefits available only to insured’s whose income is < 250% of the FPL. (yes, he would have to sign up for a Silver plan.)

The incentive to “game the system” is laid out on a Silver platter to Chris and those like him.

Also, if I were Chris, I’d be out recruiting the young invincibles to sign up.


Data Hub Security and General Amateur Hour

Questions Raised About ACA Data Security – Healthy Living Center – Everyday Health.

Federal watchdogs expressed concerns to lawmakers Wednesday about the security of information that will be traded through the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) health insurance exchanges.

Federal tax information provided to the exchanges in order to determine benefit eligibility may not be adequately protected, an official from the Office of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said Wednesday.

Well that’s comforting in this day and age. Over the last 15 years the government has been busy writing all of these laws to supposedly protect our privacy. From whom?

One bright spot… Continue reading Data Hub Security and General Amateur Hour


Obamacare induced doctor shortage

Obamacare has doctors planning exit | WND .

In a survey by a top research firm, six in 10 physicians said it is likely many doctors will retire earlier than planned in the next one to three years.

The same percentage say the practice of medicine is in jeopardy as medical experts lose control of their clinics and compensation with the implementation of the Affordable Health Care for America Act, or Obamacare.

A spokeswoman for the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Dr. Jane Orient, was not surprised.

She told WND that doctors already have started leaving the profession through early retirement. Among those who remain, some will seek alternatives to what they see coming in the federal government’s takeover of health care.

“I think it’s a disaster for patients,” she said. “They may lose the doctor they relied on all their lives.” (emphasis added)

Not a pretty picture.