Monday, June 21, 2010

Burying Grandpa: The TRUTH about keeping your insurance

One of the most oft-repeated lies, er, promises in the run-up to ObamaCare© was that, "if you like your plan, you can keep your plan."

Don't believe me? Well, here's PresBo himself, on the record, a scant 3 months ago:

[ed: skip to 5:41 for the money-quote]

As we now know, of course, this is (and always was) untrue; this morning, benefits maven Ceridian emailed some interesting analysis from Jim O’Connell, their legislative affairs consultant:

"The guidance states, in summary, that employer-sponsored health plans will lose their grandfather status if they significantly cut benefits or significantly increase out-of-pocket spending for employees ... What remains to be seen, however, is what losing grandfather status means to employers in terms of how much their costs would increase by having to comply with additional mandates in the law."

As we've noted before, it's more likely that employers will opt to simply pay the nominal fine. The reality, of course, is simpler still: regular readers know that employers don't pay for health insurance now, so the true costs of any increases are going to be borne by their employees regardless. It's really just another tax on working folks (because Lord knows we don't pay enough taxes now); whatever costs they aren't saddled with will of course be passed on to the consumer.

The reality is that, since ObamaCare© does nothing to rein in the costs of health care, premiums for health inurance will have to increase, and some benefits will have to be drastically reduced or go away altogether. Coupled with the loss of risk-related underwriting (aka "guaranteed issue"), there are precious few alternatives. Pragmatists (and/or cynics) may see an end-game here, but I'll let readers draw their own conclusion.

The most telling quote from Mr O'Connell concerns the incredibly cynical view taken by the Obamastration. On the one hand, “I think the big news is that the administration estimates that by the end of 2013, between a third and two-thirds of employer-sponsored plans will remain grandfathered ...”

On the other: “It’s conceivable that because of the tight limits on permissible changes, a majority of existing plans over time could lose their grandfather status.”

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Related: Oh, you can keep your doctor, too.

[Hat Tip: Beth D]
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