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Insurance, Healthcare and You The Affordable Healthcare Act, aka Obamacare
by Marie Gage,Worldwidehippies - The long anticipated Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of the ACA law has finally been given and this law was upheld. There is a lot of misinformation regarding the law. It is very complex, but as Justice Scalia declared that he should not have to read the whole thing, I guess I cannot fault the American public for their ignorance on what the bill will or will not do for them. I do know that many people on the liberal side of the political fence, mainly those that are long term unemployed, are not pleased with this law, as it does nothing at all to keep rates affordable for individuals or small business.
I am flummoxed by the people that blame this bill for the insurance hikes Health insurance rates were going up 30% or so a year to small business way back in the late 90′s when I was in the business. I did not directly do health insurance, but I had the license and the brokerage firm where I was at took care of all those things for our clients.
Here is a real life example of the disparity -
May 2007 – I worked for a small business of eight employees. When I left that May, I paid the premium of $450. I was working under contract at a large global conglomerate and would not have any coverage until I was a direct hire.
August 2007 – The small business had their rates raised to $675 a month.
September 2007 – I am hired by firm I was under contract with. I do not know what they were charged per employee, but I had the same insurer, and a better policy. No deductible and lower co-pays.
September 2009 – I was laid off and my COBRA payment would be $350 per month. My husband was working for the same firm and I added myself as his spouse to his policy. The firm was charged that same $350 as the monthly premium for my addition. I do not know what they are charged for the inclusion of other dependents.
The small business where I worked is currently paying $1150 per month, with increases imminent. Supposedly because of the health care bill. Yeah, right. For the most part, the policies for larger companies do not have issues with pre existing conditions. With the exception of providing coverage for one’s children to a higher age, there is no benefit to the other employees at the firm that have this insurance plan. I am not complaining, rather demonstrating that this moves those that really need affordable healthcare no closer to that very goal: affordable healthcare.
Many small businesses would like to be able to provide insurance to their employees. The health care bill does nothing at all to resolve the problem of rate disparity. .
The problem with small business/individuals and health insurance rates is one that has existed for eons. Health insurance is sold like other products, i.e. there are “discounts” for larger quantities. A huge fortune 1000 company is paying $350 a month, while a small business of eight employees is paying $1150 a month. That is the problem with health insurance. Health insurance rates are regulated at the state level. The federal government has no authority to regulate the premiums charged by insurers to its clients.
Deductibles are killing the finances of people. My cousin has four children; her husband has been continuously employed. He has insurance, and while he does not have to contribute to his premium, they have a $2000 deductible per individual, and they just do not have that kind of money. He earns approximately 38K annually. My cousin has insurance, but she does not have the upfront $2000 and is neglecting herself.
Until there is better and fair regulation on the insurance companies, there will be no progress. Your states insurance commissioners are the ones approving rate hikes, etc., yet no one is pressuring them. But it’s a mere diversion, and unless the people start going after those very same state offices that are allowing and approving whatever the health insurance companies want in the way of rate hikes, there can’t be any change. Nevertheless, the newscritters will not tell you that. Better to keep everyone mad or glad with the president or congress.
Wal-Mart and other big box retailers can purchase goods at a lower price due to volume; health insurance is sold in the same manner. Now everyone’s attention has been diverted by this healthcare bill. It does deserve our attention. However, focusing on the healthcare bill, rather than on the REAL problem is being a sheeple. Like those that we accuse of not seeing US – the long term unemployed. So again, divide and conquer wins.
Everyone needs to get involved at the state level. By not putting the pressure where it belongs, on insurance reform, we are not addressing the root cause of the largest problem of why we cannot obtain coverage. Insurance companies are screwing doctors too. Doctors are being forced out of private practice because they cannot run an office on the payments they receive that get smaller and smaller annually. Wal-Mart does the same thing. Every year, they want a reduced price from their suppliers. It has run some small businesses that thought they had it made when a national contract with a large retailer.
Just as the wealthy are paying fewer taxes than small business and individuals, the large corporations enjoy rates that are now about 75-80% less than those of small business and individuals. Moreover, those insurance executives are laughing at us just as surely as the brokerage executives are – pointing their fingers and laughing at our ignorance. Sure, 80% of the premium has to go towards health care and not executive compensation and administration, but all that will happen is that they will lay off workers and lower the salaries as they hire new people in the future.
So for now, Obamacare is blamed for the rates rising. When it has been like this all along. Small business and individuals are paying the brunt of it, just like with taxation. People are not commodities, so why is health care allowed to discount on quantity? I am glad that the Supreme Court did not overturn this law, but I am disappointed that we cannot resolve one of the core issues that are behind the root cause of affordable healthcare for the citizens of this country. Educate yourself and get involved with your states insurance review boards. Stay informed on upcoming rate increase requests. Get your state’s legislature involved and let them know that people are not commodities anymore than corporations are people.
A few references for general information on the Affordable Healthcare Act: