Monthly Archives: August 2013

Effort to undo Obamacare exemptions for Government

Good for them. GOP Senators Announce Legislation To Reverse ‘Obamacare’ Exemptions For Government Officials « CBS DC.

 

Two Republican senators have announced their plan for legislation that would require that all members of Congress, the president, vice president and all political appointees in the administration to purchase their health insurance from the “Obamacare” exchanges without taxpayer subsidies.

Republican Sens. Mike Enzi of Wyoming and David Vitter of Louisiana are looking to reverse a September decision by the Office of Personnel and Management (OPM) that would allow government officials and staff to keep generous taxpayer-funded contributions.

My prediction is a lack of support from their fellow Senators for undoing their Obamacare exemptions, which is truly unfortunate. Our Congressional “nobility” and their minions are receiving subsidies regardless of their income. Everyone else who is required to buy coverage has to qualify for a subsidy based on their income.

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Is Obamacare the law of the land?

Oh really?: Poll: 44 Percent Of Americans Unsure If ‘Obamacare’ Is Still A Law « CBS DC.

According to an August Kaiser Health Tracking poll, those Americans, who account for 44 percent of the nation, remain unsure if the Affordable Care Act – often referred to as “Obamacare” – is in effect, even as the Oct. 1 launch date of the health insurance exchange approaches.

Assuming these 44% have a pulse and a radio or TV, it won’t be long until the know. They may or may NOT like what they find out, but believe me they will know it exists.

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As rates soar, small business owners pass along more health care costs to employees

No problem, the government will come to the rescue: As rates soar, small business owners pass along more health care costs to employees – The Washington Post.

 

“The trend continues, especially in smaller firms,” Drew Altman, Kaiser’s chief executive, said during a press call about the study, calling the uptick “part of a quiet revolution in health insurance from more comprehensive to less comprehensive with higher deductibles.”

That revolution has left small business employees paying considerably more for their coverage than their counterparts at large companies. The average deductible for workers at small firms (those with more than two employees but less than 200) was $1,715, nearly double the $884 deductible paid by workers at large businesses.

In addition, the average annual premium paid by small business employees has steadily increased from $5,700 for family coverage in 1999 to $15,600 in 2013, according to Kaiser. Now, some say the health care law is driving those rates higher at an even faster pace.

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Obamacare Penalties: Final Answer

From the latest IRS ruling on the Individual Mandate the Obamacare penalties for not purchasing a qualified plan are:

  • 2014: Greater of $95 per adult and $47.50 per child under age 18, maximum of $285 per family, or 1% of income over the tax-filing threshold
  • 2015: Greater of $325 per adult and $162.50 per child under age 18, maximum of $975 per family, or 2% over the tax-filing threshold
  • 2016: Greater of $695 per adult and $347.50 per child under age 18, maximum of $2,085 per family, or 2.5% over the tax-filing threshold

If the penalty applies for less than a full calendar year, the penalty will be 1/12 of the annual amount per month without coverage

 

 

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Snowe: President thought opposition to health law would eventually fade away

Snowe: President thought opposition to health law would eventually fade away – The Hill’s Healthwatch.

Obama courted Snowe’s support in an attempt to make the bill bipartisan. He assured her GOP opposition to the law would be short-lived, she said.

“He thought the opposition to it would lessen after the [2010] election. I said, ‘It’s just the beginning.’ I said, ‘It’s going to grow because I can tell you it’s not going to go away and it’s going to get worse,’” Snowe said in a radio interview moderated by Julie Mason, host of SiriusXM’s Press Pool.

Snowe decided not to play along…

Snowe ultimately spurned Obama’s entreaties. She voted for a version of the measure in the Senate Finance Committee but opposed it on the floor. The Maine senator told the president that public opinion would further sour “because of the implementation problems, which would just exacerbate and aggravate the opposition and those who were opposed to it to begin with.”

How prescient! Also, it shows how little President Obama understands the opposition.

Prediction: Chaos

 

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Obamacare induced Doctor Shortage – beware the Triple Threat

Ouch: Doctor Shortage Could Spell (More) Disaster for Obamacare – Cortney O’Brien.

Healthcare professionals are warning that there could be a wide gap between the number of people seeking medical treatment under Obamacare and the number of doctors available to provide it.

A triple threat — more people needing care, tens of thousands of doctors reaching retirement age and a growing number of physicians getting so frustrated with bureaucracy that they want out — could undermine any improvements the law envisages.

Personally I encourage doctors, especially primary are physicians, to stop fooling with insurance and post your prices.

 

Related: How much does surgery cost?

 

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Colorado’s Insurance Commissioner Braces For Bumps In The Road

Colorado’s Insurance Commissioner Braces For Bumps In The Road – Capsules – The KHN Blog.

Colorado, which is preparing for the Oct. 1 launch of its new online insurance marketplace, expects bumps in the road as residents start enrolling in new health coverage options created by the Affordable Care Act.

“We’re going to have 500,000 new customers,” said Marguerite Salazar, the state’s new insurance commissioner, during an Aug. 19 interview – her second day on the job. “Just think of how many possibilities there are for things to go wrong there.”

She has great faith in the staff she’s now leading at Colorado’s Division of Insurance, she said, but is realistic about the big changes that are coming.

“We know it’s not going to be just a completely smooth transition as people who have never had insurance buy it and try to figure out how to use it. … Also, insurance companies, which are not used to dealing with people who are previously uninsured, are going to find themselves having different issues with their customers. The Division of insurance is going to step up to make sure we can help both sides,” Salazar said.

Many of these previously uninsured are going to have inflated expectations about how the coverage works. The plans have deductible and copays. That translates into out of pocket expenses. The concept of both paying monthly premiums and then having to pay at the doctors office will not be well received.

Since the ads say that “real” coverage is available through the Colorado Exchange, whoops there I go again, I mean “Marketplace” the “common folk” are going to expect everything to be covered as a first dollar benefit.

Prediction: Chaos

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Obamacare: Delay, delay. What will your plans cost?

Exclusive: U.S. delays deadline for finalizing Obamacare health plans | Reuters.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) notified insurance companies on Tuesday that it would not sign final agreements with the plans between September 5 and 9, as originally anticipated, but would wait until mid-September instead, according to insurance industry sources.

Nevertheless, Joanne Peters, a spokeswoman for HHS, said the department remains “on track to open” the marketplaces on time on October 1.

The exchanges, whoos we now use the politically correct term, “marketplaces” will open on October 1st until they won’t. As the article goes on to say, that date isn’t all that important as long as you can sign up in time for coverage starting January 1st.

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Obamacare overcharging the young invincibles. Also Opportunity Cost issues

Will young people pay for mandated health insurance next year? Uh, probably not … « Hot Air.

Conover goes into interesting detail to outline why ObamaCare is a bad deal for young people. And, just as importantly he points us to another article that points to another significant cost over the years that usually goes unmentioned – opportunity cost. What is the cost of the opportunity the money they spend on health care in terms of what they would have done with the money if they could use it for their choice?

I’ve seen premium increases for my clients from one company and if they are representative of what the other companies will do, the young invincibles are gonna “run like hell” the other direction.

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Young invincible Obamacare rates

I recently received some Obamacare pricing from a single carrier last week. It is NOT a pretty picture. A “young invincible” couple client with a $1500 deductible plan in the Denver/Metro area. Rates increasing from $290 to around $500/mo for a Bronze plan and over $700/mo for a Platinum plan.

Are they going to pay that much? Color me very skeptical.

Prediction: Chaos with the needle moving towards TOTAL chaos.

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Feds are building a detective squad to target consumers and companies that don’t follow Obamacare

Feds are building a detective squad to target consumers and companies that don’t follow Obamacare | Mail Online.

Judicial Watch, a nonprofit that has told MailOnline it files ‘hundreds’ of FOIA requests, first published evidence in July of the HHS hiring binge.

‘Sounds like we now have the Obamacare police,’ said the group’s president, Tom Fitton, after MailOnline showed him the new data.

‘Given the confusion and problems of the law’s implementation, we would need a small army to police all the waste, fraud, and abuse that is already evident.’

Heritage Action for America, a conservative lobby group that opposes implementation of the Affordable Care Act, told MailOnline that it sees the hiring of criminal investigators inside HHS as a sign that its position is more and more defensible.

‘The Obama administration continues to assert near unilateral power when it comes to Obamacare,’ said Dan Holler, the group’s communications director.

‘This blatant disregard for the rule of law raises serious questions as to how these new criminal investigators will behave, what guidelines they will follow and who will provide much-needed oversight.’

Heritage Action is circulating a letter this week, penned by freshman GOP Rep. Mark Meadows, calling on 100 House Republicans to ‘take the steps necessary to defund Obamacare in its entirety, including on a year-end funding bill like a continuing resolution.’

The Department of Health and Human Services didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but it responded to MailOnline’s FOIA request within the number of days the statute permits.

Hey, suddently the IRS penalty seems a lot more palatible? You can’t make this stuff up.

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Obamacare alert: Warning young invincibles

Obamacare Is Really, Really Bad For You, Especially If You’re Young – Forbes.

Starting next year, the Affordable Care Act will severely weaken the link between health insurance premiums and age-related risks. Health insurance companies won’t be allowed to charge older people any more than three times what they charge younger people for premiums. This is bad news for the young.

Preventing health insurers from fully accounting for age will not change the reality that, in general, the older you are, the greater your medical expenses (six times greater, when you compare 64-year-olds to 18-year-olds). These are costs that someone has to pay.

If I was a young person, I’d click on the link! If I was an “old” person, I’d hope the young invicibles did NOT click on the link!

Here’s the conclusion but you’re missing the meat and potatoes…

The health law’s age-related rate restriction milks the hard-earned income of young people—those just starting out in life—for the sake of those older, sacrificing in the process a young person’s own goals and dreams. If they were honest, supporters of the law would admit this openly, instead of adding insult to injury by calling their immoral scheme a benefit to the young.

Oh and thanks for supporting my social security too.

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