Monday, August 30, 2010

Wolverines jump in the pool [UPDATED]

[Please scroll down for update]

"Michigan is set to launch a subsidized insurance pool for people who haven't been able to get coverage because of a pre-existing health condition, but it's not clear if the program will be big enough to handle everyone who wants to buy in."


"[B]ig enough to handle everyone who wants to buy in[?]"

One supposes that they honestly believe that they'll attract more than, say, New Jersey, but I'm not convinced. In order to be eligible, ObamaCare© requires that one be uninsured for at least six months, and (of course) be "uninsurable." In the event, the Grand Opening is tomorrow (August 31st), and officials estimate that there are some 3,500 Michiganders [ed: Michiganders?] who may qualify. As with Pennsylvania, coverage doesn't begin immediately; the earliest available effective date is October 1st.

Michigan has been given some $140 million as seed money for their version of the ObamaPool©, which tracks with Pennsylvania's $160 and Ohio's $150 million. They're also counting on folks ponying up anywhere from $200 to $700 a month in premiums (which are age- but not sex-rated). And of course it's a typical, generic co-pay plan (aka Phantom Insurance), which will increase utilization and, hence, costs. How much different (read: better) such plans would work if they were built on an HSA high deductible chassis. But we can't have that pesky personal responsibility component, can we?

There is, however, some good news: this plan, unlike some others, does not count a current pregnancy as a qualifying pre-existing condition (I confirmed this with the folks running the program). That should help delay the inevitable financial melt-down.

On the other hand, though, is this world-class non-sequitor:

"Plan administrators say the coverage will be more comprehensive and in many cases less expensive than typical Michigan policies for individuals."

Hunh?! More coverage at lower rates? Guess who pays for that?

But it gets better (or worse, depending on one's perspective):

"Many of those who will be in the plan aren't able to get commercial coverage at any price because they're so expensive to insure."

Let's see if I follow this: "more" coverage at "lower prices" for folks who can't get health insurance in the open (competitive) market because they're too "expensive" to insure.

Only in Lansing (or DC) could someone say that with a straight face.

[Hat Tip: FoIB Holly R]

[UPDATE]: While we've had our issues with Best's insurance ratings services in the past, they're still the "go-to" folks when trying ascertain a carrier's financial outlook. And based on Best's analysis, one has to wonder what the rocket surgeons in Lansing were smoking when they awarded this little plum:

"[Physicians Health Plan of Mid-Michigan]

Financial Strength Ratings
Rating: NR-5 (Not Formally Followed)
Outlook: Not Applicable
Action: Affirmed
Effective Date: May 21, 2010
A rating of "NR-5" means that this carrier isn't even on Best's radar. Does this mean that the company's on the rocks? Of course not, but it does give one pause: after all, a carrier's financial ability is only as good as its underlying strength.

Or apparent lack of thereof.
blog comments powered by Disqus