Friday, April 29, 2011

Save on Car Insurance

Paying too much for car insurance? Get a girlfriend. However if you are married you might want to reconsider this advice. Wives are usually not open to those kind of arrangements.

Jesse Levey recently saved $200 a year on car insurance by having a girlfriend. The 31-year-old Californian, who works in marketing, recently got the pleasant surprise when he added his girlfriend to his auto insurance policy.

"They ran the quote and said it was $200 less per year," he says. "She has a good driving record, but so do I. She is going to be using my car some of the time. We live in the same place."

Girlfriends can lower a car insurance rate because they're often “less risky” than their boyfriends. Insurance companies generally see women as safer drivers, and couples are better risks than single people.

We now return you to your regular reading assignment.

Disability Month ahead...

May is National Disability Insurance Awareness Month. In anticipation of this annual event, we bring you startling and compelling evidence that this is must-have coverage:

Cavalcade of Risk #130: Call for submissions and CavRisk News

David Williams hosts next week's edition. Entries are due by Monday (the 2nd).

NB: We're trying out a new submission tool:

The BC WorkAround

Once there, you'll be asked to provide:

■ Your post's url and title
■ Your blog's url and name
■ Your name and email
■ A (brief) summary of the post ("Remarks")

At the bottom of the form, you'll see a drop-down menu; simply select "Cavalcade of Risk" then press "Submit" and you're good to go.

And PLEASE remember: ONLY posts that relate to risk (not personal finance tips and the like).

Thursday, April 28, 2011

About those "sick notes"

During the unruly protests that took place in Wisconsin in February, several health care "professionals" handed out "medical excuse notes" to participants. While any rational lay person would immediately recognize this as a major ethical breach, it's taken this long for said "professionals'" employer to weigh in:

"UW Health doctors who wrote sick notes for protesters at the Capitol in February face penalties up to a loss of pay and leadership positions, the UW School of Medicine and Public Health said Tuesday."

[ed: "UW" is "University of Wisconsin"]

Nice to see the University taking a principled stand.

From the Mailbag: Thursday Linkfest

Three (apparently) unrelated but interesting items from our email:

Regular readers know that we're big fans of transparency in both the delivery and financing of health care. To that end, we're pleased to pass along the news of a new online database called Fair Health Consumer. Eric Hendrickson tells us that the site's purpose is to "provid[e] consumers with information they need to navigate the very confusing world of health care reimbursement; one service offered deconstructs the benefit forms that insurers provide us with anytime we visit our doctor or other healthcare provider."

That's been available since the beginning of the year, and they've recently added a new "Consumer Cost Lookup function" that lets health care consumers "view charge estimates for various dental procedures within their geographic area." And come August, the site's adding "costs associated with medical procedures ... Patients will be able to conduct their searches by procedure or service, by diagnosis (in the case of medical), or by utilizing the appropriate medical or dental terminology codes."

Long Term Care insurance is another favorite topic here at IB, and Genworth Financial's a major player in the LTCi market. According to email we received from Clint Kaminska, the carrier's put together a new "Genworth Celebrates Caregivers program," which includes "Long Term Care resources aimed to support families and caregivers in talking to loved ones about big issues like aging, money, health and planning for end-of-life care."

It's a website with a variety of resources, including articles, advice and links.

■ Daniel Kessler, a professor of business and law at Stanford University and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, has an interesting piece at the WSJ that explains how ObamaCare© actually punishes the productive members of our society:

"This new entitlement ... will damage the country's long-term fiscal outlook. It also will introduce far-reaching negative effects on rewards to work and bizarre new inequities into American life ... There is also the likelihood that ... income taxes on upper-middle income families will have to be raised ... to finance the cost of the subsidy, the Medicaid expansion, and other provisions of the new law. Both of these effects exacerbate the law's negative work incentives."

It's a chilling and eye-opening look at this trainwreck.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Is there an app for this? (Stupid Government Trick)

Recently, "smart" phones have been in the news for surreptitiously tracing users' whereabouts. That might actually be a good problem to have, though, if you're the beneficiary of a life insurance policy:

"State regulators in California and Florida say they will be looking to see how well life insurers are doing at determining when the life insurance policy insureds have died."

There are, in fact, several issues here, and it's not necessarily as "open and shut" as the authorities may wish it to appear.

The first problem is that, contrary to what the state bureauweenies may wishcast, it's not the insurance company's responsibility to keep tabs on its insureds: it's the insured's responsibility to keep the carrier apprised of his (or her) location. In fact, I daresay that privacy hawks would be mightily put out if an insurer was proactive in this regard.

And I call BS on this one:

"John Chiang, the California controller, says his office has been auditing 21 insurers to evaluate compliance with state unclaimed property claims.

The audit has found widespread problems with efforts to locate beneficiaries of life policies and annuity contract death benefits."

So. What?

If you care enough about your loved ones to buy a life insurance policy, then you darned well ought to make sure that they have a clue as to:

a) It's existence,


b) It's location.


Worksite Woes

Many years ago, working class folks bought life insurance from companies specializing in "industrial" policies. No, this didn't mean that plans were forged from raw steel; rather, these policies had relatively modest death benefits, usually meant to cover final expenses. Rather than check-o-matic, premiums were collected (often weekly) by "the insurance man" working his debit (route).

Those days are long gone, but the need for these kinds of plans still exists, and that market is now served by so-called "worksite marketing" programs. Some are well-known (Aflac); many aren't. The basic idea, though, remains the same: small face amounts, simplified underwriting and easily-budgeted premiums (the agent collecting his debit has been supplanted by payroll deduction of premiums).

Unfortunately, even that affordable market is now facing a major challenge:

"U.S. sales of voluntary group insurance products and individual products sold at the worksite fell 2.9% in 2010 ... The drop between 2009 and 2010 “is the first decrease that we have seen in the industry since we began tracking sales in 1997."

Although life sales in general seem to have picked up, sales of these plans have plummeted: "The top carrier experienced a 5% drop in sales."

So what's behind this precipitous decrease? Well, if real unemployment stands at almost 16% (and it does), and folks are somewhat soured on the economy (and they are), and gas is approaching (or over) $4 a gallon (and it is), then something's got to give. And it doesn't seem a stretch to conclude that at least part of that something is more life insurance.

Dumbing down the biz...

Way back in the day (when I first started in this industry), there was a particularly pernicious group of agents we called "termites:" their sole mission in life, as directed by the home office of now defunct A L Williams, was to dupe unwitting victims into cashing out perfectly good permanent life insurance policies in favor of a long-discredited concept known as "BTID" (buy term and invest the difference). We'll leave the particulars for another day, but the main problem these folks ran into was that, once they ran through their list of "soft targets" (usually family and friends), they were gone.

ALW was eventually supplanted by Primerica, which carried on the former's ignoble tradition. Both models depended upon one thing: new warm bodies, which must be licensed. The failure rate for these agents was enormous (in fairness, it's never been all that terrific for the industry as a whole: contrary to popular belief, being a successful agent is often quite difficult and requires years of persistence).

Now it appears that the folks at Primerica are facing an even greater challenge: getting those warm bodies licensed in the first place:

"About 80% of Primerica recruits don't actually become insurance agents, often because they flunk state licensing exams ... That's a problem for the company, which, more than any other insurer of its size, depends on agents to sell policies."

No kidding.

And their solution?

Oh, you're gonna love this:

"Make the tests easier. [Primerica] asserted to state regulators that the exams aren't only too hard in some places, but might also be racially biased, putting African-Americans and other minorities at a disadvantage."


Did they just play the race card ?!

I believe that they did.

So the insurer with the "country's largest life-insurance sales force" just said that black people are too stupid (and/or uneducated) to pass a licensing exam. That must come as a shock to the many talented, bright, hard-working and successful black (and women) agents I've met in my almost 30 years "in the biz." This is more commonly known as "the soft bigotry of low expectations," and it is no less offensive when applied to minorities in the insurance industry than in any other context.

The reality, though, is much uglier; this isn't about "fairness," but greed:

"Some regulators worry that simplifying the tests could open the door for unqualified people to sell complicated policies. They say the problem isn't necessarily the tests ... but Primerica's own recruiting program. While some companies require candidates to have college degrees ... Primerica is different. It lets almost anyone sign up, so long as they don't have a criminal record and can pay a $99 fee to cover training and licensing costs, among other minimum standards."

So a pulse and a c-note gets you in the Primerica door. And there's the real story: according to the company itself, Primerica has "processed" over 900,000 wannabes over the past five years. That comes to over $89,100,000, or roughly $17,820,000 a year in "fees" from folks who may - or may not - actually pass muster. That's a lot of incentive to make it even easier, no?

[Hat Tip: Doris F]

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Quick: Duck!

After erstwhile Aflac spoke(something) Gilbert Gottfired was cut loose due to his remarkable insensitivity (much less business acumen), the call went out for a set of replacement vocal chords.

After auditioning well over 12,000 would-be duckmeisters, the worksite insurance behemoth has given the nod to a Minnesota radio sales manager and father of three, 36 year old Daniel McKeague:

"McKeague recorded a 30-second clip at radio station KQRS in Minneapolis, where he works, uploaded it to Aflac's website and later did a more formal video audition.

After learning early Tuesday that he was selected for the gig, McKeague said he's known for doing silly voices."

Gotta love a happy ending.

Dear Agent

To: (local agent) Subject: anthem sucks..HSA 841******9

Hey (local agent)!

I sent Anthem the form to change my insurance agent to you and they never took action.

They are now jacking up my insurance rate,again...from $412.(HSA plan) to $509. I cannot stand this company.

Is there another company out there for me?

I will be 64 in November. I do have existing hashimotos (hypothyroid) disease and skin cancer (basal cell). I know that pre-existing cannot be used against least openly.

Any thoughts? I have until June to make changes within Anthem. I cannot figure out which change, if any to make.

God bless Obamacare. These companies are having a field day.

(Dissatisfied Customer)

(we spoke last year. you gave me great advise that helped me reduce my monthly ins. bill.)

Agent's response . . .

You’re going to hate this but much of the price increase is because of Obamacare. Possibly the worst piece of garbage legislation ever passed.

As an example, companies now have to insure all children regardless of health and can only increase the otherwise low premium by 2 times. So a kid with cancer is now insurable and you don’t think that will affect everyone’s rates. Furthermore, group health plans must keep adults on their parent’s coverage until age 26. So lots of married “kids” now can get the insurance companies to cover their maternity even if they are married. Another “benefit” of what had to be passed before so we will know what’s in it (thanks Nancy Pelosi).

So please put at least some of the blame on the socialists in charge of our government.

That being said, because you do have pre-existing (and YES, it can be held against you until 2014), you have virtually no options except to pay the premium until you are eligible for Medicare.

However, even with the rate increase Anthem is really at the low end of insurance carrier pricing.

Since I am not your agent, I am not earning any commission on your policy. It would help me financially if I could re-write you elsewhere. But at age 64, it’s never been an easy task, and with pre-ex conditions (and likely medication), it’s damn near impossible.

Lastly, 25-33% of your premium is government mandates imposed upon insurance companies. At least $100 of your premium is not the fault of insurance companies.

The bottom line is that until the underlying prices (doctors, hospital, drugs, etc) are kept under control, health insurance premiums will continue to rise.

You don’t like it now, you’ll REALLY hate it when the government becomes the only insurance company available.

Sorry for the rant but I feel I have an obligation to present the real cause of the problem – and it’s not the insurance companies. It’s the jackasses in DC and Sacramento.

By the way, because of all the stupidity, I have re-focused my career. I no longer am looking to write health insurance (except for nice people like you) and am focusing on Medicare products and more importantly, long term care insurance.

Wish I could help.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Say, is that a policy in your pouch?

While we've blogged on the general topic of pet insurance before, this item really jumped out:

"An anonymous donor has purchased a $50,000 insurance policy to help an Oklahoma woman keep her pet kangaroo as a therapy pet. "

It's not really "pet insurance" per se: rather, it's a liability policy required by a yet-to-be-enacted local ordinance pertaining to the keeping of "exotic pets." It's similar to those required by landlords concerned about (for example) pit bulls and the like. The idea is that these animals may pose a more existential threat to others than the family goldfish or poodle.

The article's a little sensational: I doubt very much that the $50,000 referred to the premium; more likely, that's the policy limits, and the premium is a small fraction of that. We'd appreciate any input from our P&C-type readers on that score.

Regardless, it's still a generous and thoughtful gesture, and a great example of insurance as risk management tool.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Easter for Christians is a time of rebirth. For others it is just another day.

The commercialization of Easter is akin to Christmas. Perhaps it is me, but it seems Christian holidays are becoming secular events while holidays (or holy days) in other religions are not.

Easter is historically a pagan event. Eggs, lilies, bunnies and chicks associated with Easter have their roots in pagan celebrations but each, except for the bunny, also have meaning to Christians.

While not recorded in the Bible, some stories say Mary offered eggs to the Roman soldiers in exchange for mercy on her son.

Lilies that bloom in the spring are symbolic of new life and rebirth.

The Easter chicks that were once popular as gifts for children are also a symbol of new life.

The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus gives us our foundation in the Christian faith.

Beyond the bunnies, baskets filled with eggs and candy, and Easter dresses and suits is an event that forever shaped the lives of millions who would follow.


Friday, April 22, 2011

Stupid Carrier Tricks #1648

Apparently, some carriers still don't quite get that our clients do not belong to them, and that we don't much like "poachers."

The rocket surgeons who run United Healthcare seem to think that agents are simply a "necessary (for now) evil" that can be ridden roughshod over:

[Click to embiggen]

The letter, from Operations CEO Dirk McMahon, says in part that "you now have access to a designated employer service team ... who will handle all your benefit needs."

No, Mr McMahon, that's my job. Yours is to try to rein in renewals, and provide excellent service to all your insureds.

And I don't even appreciate the sentiment: it bespeaks an arrogance that must surely permeate the Home Office.

On the other hand, it's sure a great incentive to really start thinking about moving business to other carriers.

Industry News: Life and Health edition

■ First up, some (good?) news from the Medical Information Bureau (MIB):

"U.S. life insurers researched more requests for individual coverage in March than they did in March 2010, and activity for older applicants continued to be strong."

That's interesting on several levels. First, it suggests that more folks are buying life insurance (although at least some of these are likely replacements for older policies). Second, it may also be a reflection on the decline of the economy: if folks had been counting on their investments to fund their estates, then life insurance can be an attractive means of making up for unexpected shortfalls.

■ Next, Aetna's making some interesting changes in how they'll handle individual medical insurance going forward:

"1. New 15-day lead time requirement"

When applying for a new policy, the earliest effective date one can claim is two weeks out. So if you're thinking about switching to an Aetna individual plan, don't wait 'til the last minute.

[ed: United Healthcare requires a month has changed their issue date policy to 15 days, as well]

"2. A requested effective date can no longer be changed to an earlier date"

On its face, this makes sense: backdating is problematic. But what they're really talking about is a case where, for example, you apply today (April 22nd) requesting a June 1 effective date (obviously observing the new 15-day rule). Your approval comes back on May 3rd, and you decide that you'd really rather have the new plan effective May 15th. Nope: no can do. This makes no sense, since the 15-day rule is still being met, and it's not a question of new claims in the interim.

And last (but definitely not least):

"3. 90-day limit for choosing a future effective date following an appeal"

This one's kind of (unnecessarily) complicated: what it applies to are cases where an applicant is turned down for coverage and appeals the declination. Under the new ObamaCare© rules, the applicant has 180 days to appeal the decision. But Aetna's added a twist: "the applicant must choose an effective date within 90 days of the original signature date on the application." Here's the example given:

"An applicant signs an application on 12/31/2010 and is declined for coverage on 1/15/2011. The applicant has 180 days from 1/15/11 to appeal his/her declination ... If Aetna overturns the declination decision and approves the coverage, the applicant may be enrolled for an effective date that is within 90 days of the signature date on the application."

They then give various dates from January through April. The problem is that one could end up paying for many months where there was no coverage in force. So one could win the battle, and ultimately lose the war.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The MVNHS© Bites (Back)

Offered without (additional) comment:

Baby Joseph Update

Last time we checked in with Baby Joseph was a month ago, at which time he had been evacuated from Canada to St Louis. His prognosis hadn't really changed, but his level of care was much improved.

Now we learn that "(f)ifteen-month-old Joseph Maraachli, known to the world as “Baby Joseph,” was transported from ... St. Louis, where he received a tracheotomy last month ... He arrived in Windsor, Ontario, Thursday morning."

As regular readers know, there was never really any question as to the ultimate result here: Baby Joseph does not have a long life expectancy. So this was never about quantity of life, but quality:

"The tracheotomy was done to alleviate some of the baby’s discomfort, and now Joseph is able to breathe on his own without mechanical assistance."

Doesn't seem to me to be all that much to ask for. Yet the bureauweenies running the Canadian health "care" system would rather an innocent child suffer than provide the inexpensive palliative care that was requested, and ultimately provided by the actual health care system here.

HuffPo Whiffs It

Wendy Potter rants on HuffPo about how the Paul Ryan plan to overhaul Medicare and save the federal government from financial suicide is actually a windfall to insurance companies.

Just shows his ignorance about the real world.

Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, wants to dismantle the Medicare program and replace it with a system of vouchers. Starting in 2022, the government would give the average 65-year-old Medicare beneficiary $8,000 a year to buy coverage from a private insurer. That's the amount health care analysts estimate will be what the Medicare program will spend on every 65-year-old in 2022 if the government doesn't turn it over to private insurance companies.

There are quite a few problems with his theory.

First, carriers that currently administer Medicare (and Medicaid) have a sweet deal. They are paid an admin fee for claims adjudication and have no risk. As long as their costs don't exceed the government allotment they make money.

Why would they want to give up that?

Besides, they can't compete with the government on claims cost since they lack the unlimited borrowing power of the government and are required to be financially solvent.

Second, when you consider all the government intrusion in the day to day lives of the health insurance carriers and the way they keep changing the rules for funding, expenses, etc on Medicare Advantage plans, there is no way carriers would want to jump back in that market.

There are fewer carriers and fewer plans in the Advantage market than a few years ago and those numbers will continue to dwindle.

Expansion as a primary payer for age 65+ health insurance is not something any of them want to do.

Here's why this would be a dream-come-true for the insurance industry: The more health plan enrollees have to pay out of their own pockets, the less insurers have to pay for medical care. The money that insurers avoid paying out in claims goes straight to their bottom line -- and into shareholders' pockets.

Apparently Wendy has not noticed how Medicare taxes and Medicare premiums have risen almost every year while benefits have been reduced.

Insurers have been shifting more and more of the cost of care to their policyholders over the past several years by enticing -- or pushing -- them into plans with ever increasing deductibles.

Yup. Just like Medicare.

The rest of his rant gets in to class warfare where he bemoans the salaries of insurance executives but says nothing about the trillions in borrowed debt forced on all of us by the government.

Reading his post reminds me of a Hall and Oates song.

Out of touch . . .

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Grand Rounds is up...

Julie Rosen presents this week's roundup of great medblog posts. As usual, it's an eclectic collection, but the underlying theme is patient-centered care.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Passover 2011/5771

Passover is, at its heart, a celebration of freedom (although not necessarily liberation). Tonight, we celebrate the first night of this weeklong holiday, breaking bread (literally!) with people we know and love and, often, total strangers. May all our lives be blessed with freedom and liberation.

Big Blue Bites Back

What happens when the government decides to interfere with private industry in such a way as to make it more difficult for the employer to continue to operate or maintain a competitive edge?

Private industry responds.

Seems the folks in Vermont have their panties in a wad over IBM's reaction to the socialistic agenda of the state.

IBM has responded by essentially saying, if this new world order of one size fits all health care plan goes in to play they will be forced to consider relocating to another state.

Obamacrap exempts ERISA plans from many of the requirements but the folks in Vermont don't believe that is fair and want their own plan that requires everyone to play by the same rules.

If Vermont gets their way, the citizens of the cow state will all be covered under a single payer system funded by a tax on businesses.

Of course we know that businesses do not pay taxes. Rather, they simply puff up the price of their goods and pass it on to their customers.

If Big Blue is forced to ante up and fund this socialistic health care plan they will pack up and leave for a state that is not so heavy handed, taking their jobs with them.

Richard Davis, a registered nurse who apparently lacks any business acumen, has decided to retaliate with his pen by calling IBM a bully and resorting to class warfare.

According to a January CNN story, “IBM posted a fourth-quarter profit… that beat Wall Street expectations. The tech giant also pointed to an improved outlook for 2010. The Armonk, N.Y.-based company reported a profit of $4.81 billion, or $3.59 per share, which was 9% higher than what IBM reported last year.”

So what is IBM complaining about to Vermont’s politicians? They are making veiled threats about moving out of Vermont because their profitability might be hurt under the current health care reform proposal.

Apparently nurse Davis thinks IBM should just take the money they have rightfully earned and donate it to the cause.

Of course IBM won't do that. They will do what any good business person would and charge higher prices for their goods.

There is no reason for them to do that when there are 56 other states that are more friendly toward those who create jobs and drive the local economy so there is no reason for IBM to stay if Vermont insists on doing things their way.

Can't say I would blame them if they moved.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Shecantbeserious hits bottom, keeps digging

It's becoming ever more difficult to take HHS Secretary Kathy Shecantbeserious, well, seriously. To wit:

"We pay 2 1/2 times what anybody else pays in the world, and our care outcomes look like we're in a developing country.”

Leaving aside the obvious logical disconnect inherent in that statement, to which 3rd world country is she referring? Great Britain? Canada? Sweden?

She goes on to say that "(i)t takes about 17 years from the identification of a procedure, to have it fully incorporated into the medical community. But in health care, we say that's OK."

What's your point, Kathy? That the FDA takes too darned long to approve new procedures and med's? Well, how about taking that up with your counterparts at that agency? How does adding even more bureaucracy move that ball forward?

And referring to the (evil) individual mandate, this is priceless:

"I do think it's a precarious notion of not having some kind of individual responsibility."

This from a member of the least fiscally responsible administration in memory (if not history). Pot, meet kettle.

Stupid Broker Tricks©: WC Edition

Kevin Sullivan runs the Rucking Insurance blog, where he writes about insurance and rugby ("rucking" is a rugby term having to do with ball possession). Inspired by our continuing Stupid Agent Tricks© series, Kevin has the sordid story of what happens when an agent betrays his client's trust. Recommended.

Buying Insurance Across State Lines

The GA legislature approved the sale of non-compliant health insurance, an incredibly stupid idea. Carriers approved to sell health insurance in Georgia will be allowed to offer plans approved in other states that have fewer mandates. The belief is this will create more choice and lower prices.

They are wrong.

With this passing, a company such as Cigna could offer a policy they sell in Texas to be sold in Georgia. On the surface, the policy may seem identical to ones offered here but the devil is in the details.

Details you will not know about unless you read the policy limitations and exclusions section.

Something no one ever does.

These non-compliant plans will have to be filed with the Georgia Dept. of Insurance and approved before they can be sold here. That process can easily take a year or longer. United Healthcare spent 4 years applying to get new policies approved. Those plans were finally approved in October of 2010.

So where will consumers find these policies?

Only by calling the carriers direct and even that is questionable. Good chance the carrier won't have Georgia rates for a Texas plan and will not care to develop that rate structure.

Current quote engines are not programmed to illustrate policies from other states on a side by side basis. If a consumer wants to see the Texas plan and compare it to a Georgia plan they won't be able to do that.

They can run a quote for Georgia, then one for Texas (using a Texas zip code) but even then the Texas quote won't be accurate. That plan is priced based on the cost of health care in Texas, not Georgia, so consumers won't know if the plan is less expensive or not.

With Obamacrap unfolding in 2014, I doubt any carriers will be willing to invest money to reprice plans to be sold in other states. Even if they do, there is the expense of filing the new plan and rates and underwriting guideline with in different states.

In fact, many carriers are withdrawing from the individual major medical market and have no desire to expand since the rules, and rates, will all change in 2014.

Bottom line is this.

The legislators spent all this time and effort to approve a bill that will accomplish nothing.

This is what happens when elected officials, that have no understanding about the industry they are attempting to regulate, make laws.

Just another stupid government trick.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cavalcade of Risk #129: Call for submissions

Bob at Christian Personal Finance makes his CavRisk hosting debut with next week's edition. Submissions are due this Monday (the 18th), and Bob asks that you include:

■ Your blog's url
■ Your post's url
■ The post's trackback URL (if available)
■ A (brief) summary of the post

And PLEASE remember: ONLY posts that relate to risk (not personal finance tips and the like).

You can submit your post via Blog Carnival.

More than just Klingon

As if the last little "present" from Ms Shecantbeserious wasn't enough, there's a raft of new notices on its way to businesses which stubbornly continue to offer group health insurance. Here's a preview:

"On March 31, several Federal agencies released for public comment various documents regarding Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). The central document includes the Proposed Rule released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on ACOs under the Medicare Shared Savings Program."

Oh, goody!

But wait, there's more:

"Also on March 31, CMS issued a notice entitled, "Early Retiree Reinsurance Program." This notice announces that the ERRP will no longer accept new applicants after April 30, 2011."

We've discussed this program before, noting that it's basically an accounting ruse to funnel extra ObamaCash© to worthy entities.

But we're not done yet. Last fall, we noted a new W-2 requirement, allegedly voluntary this year, but set to become mandatory later on. According to the new release:

"This is an informational reporting obligation and does not cause excludable employer provided health care coverage to become taxable."

Color me skeptical.