Monday, November 01, 2010

"Bad" News, "Good" News

The "bad" news is that, as we've predicted for some time, employer-based health insurance is going away. The "scare-quotes" reflect my ambivalence to this development: on the one hand, I've never been a fan of employer-based coverage (although I do, of course sell it - I'm not an idiot). On the other hand, President The Won did, in fact, promise us that if we liked our current plan, we could keep it. That Beep-Beep you hear is the bus backing up to run over that promise again.

The latest corroboration of our prediction comes to us from John Vita, of GrantThornton (a "global audit, tax and advisory organization"). In email, Mr Vita writes:

"In a national survey of U.S. Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and senior comptrollers conducted by Grant Thornton LLP ... 30% are planning on reducing health care benefits, 23% are planning on reducing bonuses and 18% will be reducing stock options/equity based compensation."

An overwhelming majority of the 508 U.S. CFOs and senior comptrollers who responded indicated that employee benefits (health insurance, etc) "as their greatest pricing pressure -- up from 68% six months earlier."

By the way, these figures couldn't be fresher: the survey was conducted just a few weeks ago.

The "good" news is that carriers are being enticed to change their minds about their moratorium on children-only health insurance plans:

"The Obama administration, aiming to encourage health insurance companies to offer child-only policies, said Wednesday that they could charge higher premiums for coverage of children with serious medical problems, if state law allowed it."

That last bit's interesting: states recently rushed to include ObamaCare© provisions in their own reg's, now the Fed's are telling them to throw the new rules under the bus. The problem, of course, is that what the Fed gives, the Fed can easily take away: given their track record of late (see above item), it seems to me that carriers would be even dumber than normal [ed: no mean feat, that] to fall for this line.

["Good" news Hat Tip: FoIB Jeff M]
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