Daily Archives: September 5, 2013

State Premium Watch: Pricing In The New Insurance Marketplaces

State Premium Watch: Pricing In The New Insurance Marketplaces – Kaiser Health News.

One of the biggest questions about Obamacare is whether its new consumer protections might lead to higher costs for some people buying coverage on their own — or through small groups — when they purchase it via the online insurance marketplaces that open for enrollment Oct. 1.

It’s a question that Obamacare plans might lead to higher premiums? Only in rare case is it a question, such as states that already had numerous mandates or guaranteed issue policies.

That out of the way, the article contains links to pricing from various states that might be of interest to readers.


Bare Bones Health Plans Expected To Survive Health Law

Bare Bones Health Plans Expected To Survive Health Law – Kaiser Health News.

Proposed and final rules issued this spring surprised many by failing to bar large employers from offering insurance policies that could exclude benefits such as hospitalization.

Offering bare-bones policies may result in some fines, but that expense could be less than the cost of offering traditional medical coverage.

For large employers, “the feds imposed no minimum standard on how skimpy that coverage can be other than to say, in essence, it’s got to be more robust than a dental plan or a vision plan,” said Ed Fensholt, a senior vice president at insurance broker Lockton Companies. “We had customers looking at offering some relatively inexpensive and skimpy plan designs to satisfy the individual mandate at modest cost.”

It appears that Obamacare could give large employers an advantage over small employers when it comes to healthcare costs?

The bare-bones plans cannot be offered to small businesses with fewer than 50 workers, or to individuals buying coverage through new online marketplaces that open for enrollment Oct. 1. But benefit experts expect some larger firms that buy outside the marketplaces or that self-insure to consider them.

The Obama administration says that workers offered such coverage may qualify to shop in the marketplaces and to buy subsidized plans.

The game of Obamacare chess continues.


Obamacare Is Good Medicine for Retail Pharmacies

Obamacare Is Good Medicine for Retail Pharmacies.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the Act) will positively impact sales in the retail pharmacy sector. The reason is pretty simple: Obamacare will bring more people into the health care sector. Moreover, the health care reform measure includes a prescription drug benefit.

Prescription drugs are considered an essential health benefit under Section 1302 of the Act. In short, there are different tiers of coverage for the types and sources of medications. Generic drugs will become even more affordable for consumers because of lower out-of-pocket expenses.

The retail pharmacies have a big hand in dispensing generic prescriptions, so the Affordable Care Act will be a boon for this sector.


Make sure you get the best pricing on non $4 generic prescriptions by using the InCareRx prescription discount card.


IBD tracking Obamacare work hour cuts

ObamaCare: 258 Employers Cut Work Hours, Jobs In New IBD Scorecard – Investors.com.


IBD is introducing ObamaCare Employer Mandate: A List Of Cuts To Work Hours, Jobs — a compilation of employers who have opted to restrict work hours to limit new liability for employee health coverage.

As of Sept. 3, this list has reached 258 — including more than 200 public-sector employers.

Almost all of those employers have cut the hours of part-time workers to below 30 per week — the point at which ObamaCare’s insurance mandate kicks in.

A few have cut payrolls to steer clear of ObamaCare’s 50 full-time-equivalent-worker definition of a large employer subject to employer fines. A few others have reduced staff while contracting with employment services firms to limit their ObamaCare exposure.

This can hardly be called a surprise can it? My interpretation is that IBD is significantly undercounting the private employers who are reducing hours.


Wisconsin Obamacare rates show substantial increases

Insurance rates released by Walker administration questioned by health care advocates | Star Tribune.

On Tuesday, the insurance commissioner released an analysis showing what it said was the difference between what individual coverage will cost for a plan with a $2,000 deductible and prescription drug coverage currently and through the exchange. It did not examine costs in the group market.

The analysis looked at rates for individuals aged 21, 40 and 63 in nine Wisconsin cities. Rates would increase in all 24 of its scenarios, ranging from 9.7 percent for a 63-year-old in Kenosha to nearly 125 percent for a 21-year-old in Madison.

However, the analysis didn’t take into account federal subsidies, which are expected to lower costs as much as 77 percent, or show the difference in benefits or co-pays.

“I think they’ve done nothing but confuse and mislead the public rather than give them serious information,” said Robert Kraig, director of the health care advocacy group Citizen Action Wisconsin. “These look cooked and they’re even hard to analyze because of the way they were released.”

Everyone will be able to analyze them soon enough. In general, Wisconsin has had very low insurance premiums, so substantial increase for ACA plans certainly can’t be called a surprise.