Friday, July 08, 2011

ObamaCare©: Another Victim's Tale

As previously noted (here and here), very few weeks go by without at least one of us having to help a client deal with the consequences of ObamaCare©. This time, it's an old friend of mine whose family is quickly exhausting their COBRA coverage, and who need to find a place to land once it's gone later this summer.

Fred and Ethel are in their early 50's, and both have health issues serious enough to earn them declines in the open market. Their 13 year old daughter, in perfectly good health, is ineligible for her own plan because neither Mom nor Dad are insurable.

Or is she?

Bob recently pointed out two potential plans that might work: the first is a Short Term Medical, the other is a quasi-limited benefit plan. Both are from the same carrier, which has apparently decided that it will continue to offer child-only plans in these configurations.

So what's my beef?

First, the Short Term Medical plan is, well, only good for a short term (6 months at a time, to a maximum of two years in Ohio). And, it excludes coverage for pre-existing conditions (including those that develop during a previous STM's term). On the other hand, it's inexpensive and it does provide some coverage.

The other plan, which we'll call HA, may cover pre-existing conditions (depending on whether they were disclosed and underwritten), and doesn't have a built-in time limit. It's basically a limited benefit plan with some additional bells and whistles. It, too, is relatively inexpensive.

Fred and Ethel, though, are basically SOL: once COBRA runs out, their only real option is a (so-called) HIPAA Plan. This is expensive, mediocre coverage, but it does cover pre-existing conditions. Another option might have been the richer benefits and lower premiums of the ObamaPool©, but they're ineligible for that because they actually played by the rules and made the responsible decision to remain insured.

Oh, Brave New System.
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