My “Affordable Care Act” Story
When talking about the Affordable Care Act, the President has said on many occasions:
“If you’re happy with your current health insurance, you can keep it.”
He even ended some of these comments with emphasis such as, “Period.” and “It’s that simple”.
Apparently it’s not that simple.
I purchase my own health insurance. My currently policy is a relatively high deductible one that includes a once annual preventive care checkup not subject to deductible or co-pay. This policy suits my requirements. I recently received the following from my insurance company:
“Changes from health care reform (also known as Affordable Care Act or ACA) continue to take effect in 2014. Because of the requirements of the new law, we can no longer offer your current individual health benefit plan and you will need to change to an ACA-compliant health benefit plan, which will become effective January 1, 2014.”
They go on to suggest a new health benefit plan that meets ACA requirements which carries a monthly premium of $527.71. This compares to my current premium of $218.00. I’ll save you the time and tell you that this represents an increase of 142%. An increase of 142%.
Proponents of the ACA would say that I will benefit because the law now requires that all health insurance plans include a standard set of benefits. To which I respond that I now have the coverage I want and have no need for maternity care, pediatric dental care nor mental health benefits. Yet I am being asked to help others pay for these benefits.
In addition, since no one can be denied insurance I am helping to subsidize the health care for those who make no effort to live a healthy lifestyle. For the all-you-can-eat buffet eaters, for those who don’t exercise and for the diabetics and pre-diabetics. We will all pay the same health insurance premiums. My 142% premium increase helps to make it possible.
Yes, I am aware that some people will be eligible for a tax payer funded premium subsidy. How is it that with $1 trillion budget deficits we have additional money available to help millions of people pay for high cost health insurance? In addition, I’m not very encouraged that these premium subsidies will be administered by the IRS through tax credits. In a psychic moment I can see the news story that will appear in 5 years that reveals how the IRS allowed billions of dollars in fraudulent health insurance premium tax credits. If you have some doubt about this, see the recent revelations about fraudulent EIC tax credits.
Recently we’ve learned that the computer systems that will be necessary to manage the payment process for premium subsidies from the IRS has yet to be built. One staffer commented that it would be no bid deal. Hopefully, it will be handled by the same group that built the healthcare.gov website. We know what to expect from their work.
On top of all of this, no one yet knows if this whole concept will even work. We’re talking about a large pool of people. The ones most motivated to sign up are those that are likely to consume a lot of health care services due to pre-existing conditions or simply an unhealthy lifestyle and those who need the premium subsidy in order to afford health insurance. Without the participation of the young and healthy, costs will soar and premiums, along with the premium subsidies will need to increase in order to keep pace and it will lead to even more absurd budget deficits.
STOP THE MADNESS!