Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Where's the Beef?

A new group health insurance program for Wisconsin farmers is the first of its kind in the country and will serve as a model for others to follow, designers of the plan said.

The program promises to offer comprehensive insurance plans at cheaper rates than farmers could get on their own and with more extensive coverage and benefits.

More coverage, lower premiums. Where have I heard this before?

U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., helped secure $4.4 million in federal money that is being used as the initial capital for the program. State law was also changed in 2003 to get the program started.

Just felt my wallet being picked. Wonder what the "federal money" will be used for?

Oemichen said he expects farmers to have some skepticism as the plan is rolled out in March through a series of meetings across the state, but he hopes once they investigate what is being offered they will see it is a solid choice.

He did not have an estimate as to what the average cost for a person eligible under the plan would be, saying there are too many variables to calculate that.

Too many variables to calculate the cost, but promises to save money.

This may seem too obvious, but if you cannot estimate the cost how do you know the plan will save money?

Cihlar said her family health insurance carries a monthly premium of $2,200 and increased 25% last year. Cihlar said she can't switch to another provider because she had heart surgery in 1989 and no one will take her. She said she was "very confident" she will save money under the new program, which won't turn away patients with pre-existing conditions.

No underwriting for pre-ex. More coverage. Lower rates.

Does the coverage include a rabbit & top hat too?

farmers currently must buy individual insurance privately. Those plans typically are much more expensive and have fewer benefits than a group plan.

In whose world is an individually underwritten plan less expensive than a "we take all comers" group plan with no medical underwriting?

The new plan will have individual and family plans with deductibles starting at $300 for a single person up to $5,000 with a Health Savings Account for a family. Benefits include workplace injuries, something Oemichen said most farmers don't have with current plans, $500 worth of preventative care per member and prescription drug coverage.

$300 deductible. No underwriting. Better benefits. Lower cost.

Someone has spent too much time at the moonshine still.
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