Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Fine Print [UPDATED]

Read the fine print. That's what most of us have been taught. The big print gives, the small print takes away.

The folks at Kaiser Health News found this for us.

Proponents of the Senate Finance Committee’s health care bill say the legislation will limit the amount that lower- and middle-income people must pay for health insurance to a maximum of 12 percent of their incomes.

But there’s a catch: The fine print shows that, over time, the premium costs could rise well beyond those caps. That’s because the cost of coverage would shift from a percentage of income to a percentage of the premium, no matter how high the premiums go.

That last line is revealing. "No matter how high premiums go".

Seems like we are back where we started.

But wait, there's more!

KHN also found this in the fine print.

As your premiums rise so does the cost of medical equipment.

The Medical Device Manufacturers Association is starting a $200,000 radio and print ad campaign aimed at stopping Congress from imposing more than $40 billion in taxes on their goods

Now, $40 billion may not seem like a lot to Washington types but we are the ones paying for it.

For a little diversion, the ARRA - COBRA benefit whereby employers are required to pay 65% of COBRA premiums for up to 9 months is about to expire. Kaiser Health News delivers the bad news on the REAL cost of COBRA.

"The government's effort to help workers keep health benefits after they lose a job could wind up costing WellPoint Inc. and other insurers dearly in the fourth quarter. Indianapolis-based WellPoint said Wednesday it expects a spike in claims from a money-draining customer segment that includes people who continue their employer-sponsored insurance coverage under the federal law known as COBRA. Many insurers already face declining enrollment and rising costs related to swine flu cases. The expected jump in COBRA-related claims would make a bad situation worse."

"All these factors likely will contribute to future rate increases. Insurers normally lose money on COBRA enrollment because the people who keep their coverage generally do so because they need it for ongoing treatments or illness. WellPoint, for instance, spends between $1.50 and $2 on claims for every dollar it collects in premiums.

Spending $2 for every dollar they take in is what Medicare does. Problem is, Wellpoint and other carriers don't have the ability to tax our children and grandchildren to pay for the loss.

The more the government meddles in the free market, the worse things become for all of us.

Smaller cars, bigger health insurance, Poppa Washington.

UPDATE [HGS]: Not to pile on [ed: yeah, right], but it appears that the wildly successful Cash 4 Clunkers program ended up costing $24,000 per car. And it also turns out that only about 20% of the total vehicles sold under the program wouldn't have been moved off the lot anyway.

I can't wait to see what ObamaCare, er, uh ... PelosiCare will actually end up costing us, and how many folks will actually receive appropriate health care.
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