Tuesday, October 31, 2017

#Affordable (Care Act)

Or, you know, not:

[Hat Tip: FoIB Rich W]

Monday, October 30, 2017

Life Insurance Poser

So this afternoon, I'll be meeting with the widow of a long-time client to file a claim. Matt passed away last week after a brief battle with cancer. It's the worst part of my job, and the best. Complicating matters is the fact that we just re-did his insurance a year ago this past August, which means that the policy is still in the contestability period. I'm not really anticipating any issues, but it's just one more thing.

Still, it's a reminder that, as simple as life insurance can be, there are often exceptions.

Take this case, for example, to which we were alerted by FoIB Jeff M:

"Wife Accused of Killing Husband Can Sue Insurer That Froze Life Insurance Proceeds"

Seems that Mrs Bailey has been accused of murdering her (now late) husband, presumably to collect the $343,000+ in life insurance proceeds. Now, accusation ≠ convistion, but courts generally refrain from allowing the accused from profiting from their crime.

She was indicted, but that apparently wasn't enough to satisfy this court, which basically ordered Pru to pony up, ruling that the carrier could always come back later and pull it back if the widow is convicted.

Gee, I can see no possible way for that to go wrong.

Be interesting to see how this turns out.

Friday, October 27, 2017


So, despite the fact that I still have no current plans to actually sell ObamaPlans, as a service to my clients (and IB readers), I fell on my sword and spent half the day taking the 2018 Marketplace Refresher Course, for which I received a beautiful certificate of completion (suitable for framing!).

As expected, there really wasn't much new ground covered, although I was once again nonplussed to find this tidbit:

"The IRS routinely works with taxpayers who owe amounts they cannot afford to pay. The law prohibits the IRS from using liens or levies to collect any individual shared responsibility payment. However, if a taxpayer owes a shared responsibility payment, the IRS may offset that liability against any tax refund that may be due to the taxpayer."

Once again I ask: if there's literally no teeth here, how many folks have actually, voluntarily ponied up their "fair share?" And again, I could find no definitive answer on the Interwebs.

Would gladly accept any suggestions or info.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Breaking: CVS & Aetna

Unconfirmed reports about this just popping up:

Huge if true (and consummated). Dana is a WSJ reporter, so: credible.

Renewal Mania 2017

Riffing off Patrick's report below: In the past, we've seen how hard even grandmothered plans have been hit by ObamaCare rate decreases. Today got very interesting: email from Medical Mutual of Ohio alerted me to a handful of individual major medical plans with January 1, 2018 renewals.

And for once, it really was a pretty picture (mostly):
■ Out of 6 plans, two had no change (increase) at all.

■ 3 had nominal (a few pennies or dollars a month) increases (one was 7 cents!)

■ 1 had a whopping 5% increase (about $30 a month for a family of four)
On the other hand, the one ObamaPlan that came up experienced a rate drop of 26%, as promised.

Oh, I'm sorry, my bad:

That's a 26% rate increase (over $60 a month for a single, middle-aged lady).

#ACAWinning, indeed.

Just got my Medical Mutual Grandmothered renewals...

Here's the monthly increases by client:

Image result for pennies on the dollar$0.01

While it's not the 3000% decrease we were promised, it's definitely a far cry from the huge increases in the ACA market. 

Health Wonk Review: The Sky is Falling edition

Our good friend David Williams hosts this week's health care policy and polity roundup, all the more impressive because he is recovering from being hit by a car.

As usual, David does a great job of summarizing each post - a very attentive host, indeed!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

LTCi "Refresher"

So, I did something dumb. Or rather, I carelessly neglected to do something, and so ended up spending the day yesterday in an 8 hour Long Term Care insurance course, once again taught by the inestimable Ray Copenheaver.

In order to sell Long Term Care insurance (LTCi) here in The Buckeye State, one must take an initial 8 hour training course, and then biannual 4 hour "refresher" ones. The challenge is that it's not just "every two years," but specifically 24 months from the date of one's most recent previous course.

Which in my case was this past August 19th.

And which I completely blew past.

So, in order to continue selling this valuable product, I was required to take the full 8-hour version.

Of course, not that much has changed in the intervening two years 26 months, but two thing piqued my interest:

First, those hybrid life/annuity/LTCi plans (well, the "good" ones) all fall under section 7702B. This is important because it defines which plans' benefits aren't taxable.

The other interesting tidbit was part of the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA), specifically Section 844, which lets retired safety officers (police officers, firefighters, etc) use money from their retirement plans to buy partnership-compliant long term care insurance. There are some interesting "hoops" through which they must jump, but may be worthwhile.

Oh, and I immediately made a note on the October 2019 calendar...

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Tuesday Odds-and-Ends

■ "The Hartford Signs Agreement To Acquire Aetna's U.S. Group Life And Disability Business "

This move will apparently create the 2nd largest group life and disability carrier in the market.

Mazel tov (I think)!

■ Via FoIB Jeff M, a story that doesn't quite pass the smell test:

"Insurer allegedly sends coverage denial letter to 9-month-old with brain cancer"

Supposedly, the vital treatment was denied due to "medical necessity," or lack thereof, actually.

As I told Jeff, though, I see the term "allegedly" more than once in that story. There's also no mention of appeal, which would have been automatic, and no indication that anyone's been in contact with the DOI. We've seen something similar before, so I'm a bit skeptical at this point.

Still, a big deal if true.

■ And this, also from Jeff M, who is obviously lying:

"Tens of thousands of North Carolinians got letters in the mail from Blue Cross Blue Shield this week, saying their already steep monthly health insurance premiums will close to double in many cases starting January 1"

Looks like someone misspelled "3000% rate decrease."

Monday, October 23, 2017

Dragonlock 3 Kickstarter Counting Down

If you're a gamer you need to at least take a look at this, especially if you're even thinking about making the move to 3D printing.

FoIB Fat Dragon Games has pulled out all the stops: cutting edge designs, outstanding stretch rewards and excellent support.

Take a look.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Shaking the Faith

As pointed out in several posts on this blog, sometimes the Christian Health Care Sharing Ministries have thorns.

Skyrocketing Obamacare premiums (which were not supposed to happen) have left far too many people seeking shelter from the storm in these non-insurance plans.

Sometimes they work very well.

Except when they don't.

The Self Pay Patient initiated this post in November of 2013, long before the reality of the Obamacare serpent took a bite out of your wallet. If you, or anyone you know, are considering one of these offbeat plans, take a while to read through the article but pay special attention to the comments which are still being added.

Here is a ssssssampling . . . .

When my COBRA coverage ran out I began coverage with CHCM in August 2016. In October of that year I developed a kidney stone. 

I gathered all of my bills and submitted them online with CHCM.

My claim from October had still not been paid. Yesterday I received a notice dated April 19, 2017 that since I was no longer a paying member my medical claims are no longer eligible for payment! I had paid for 7 months of coverage and had one medical incident and they refuse to pay even a portion of it.  - April 25, 2017 at 9:06 am

We have no way of verifying this claim. But if true, claims submitted are denied if you are not a "dues paying member" once the clam has been adjudicated.

My family was a member CHM through out 2016. We took my son to the emergency room one late night of a large local hospital. It ended up being a non-issue and we were in and out in 15 minutes. The hospital charged us about $1,1,00 and would not accept any Health Care Sharing negotiated discounts. When I talked to the CFO of the hospital about this, he told to feel lucky that it wasn’t a major incident

I also had some health issues for the end of 2016 that were hard to diagnose, but simple to treat. We turned those bills into CHM and were denied because we were no longer with them in 2017 even though we paid premiums to them when the services were provided. We were told that it is their policy that if you leave them, they will not pay for reimbursement. - May 5, 2017 at 5:19 pm

Looks like we are on a roll here.

If your claims are not paid when you WANT to leave the plan, keep paying the dues.

Kind of like the Hotel California of health care claims.

There are dozens of comments dating back to 2013. Buyer beware.

#Obamacare #ChristianHealthCareSharingMinistries

Making Strides: Lagniappe and Gratitude

Well that was a great time: Yesterday was our Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk. Thanks to the generous contributions of our friends and family, I was privileged to raise over $1,000.

Collectively, our team raised over $3,600, and came in 9th out of 480 teams.


Thank you so much to all of you who so generously supported this wonderful opportunity!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer: Last Chance...

Once again, I'm raising money with my team: Love, Hope and Faith. Our walk is tomorrow (October 21st) and I'd really like to break the $1,100 mark.

Will you please help out by making a donation - Thank You!!

Thank you!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

3D Kickstarter Counting Down

FoIB Fat Dragon Games' latest 3D DragonLock Kickstarter is winding down, and if you're even the least bit interested in cutting edge 3D printed game terrain (or think you some day might be), this is a must-have:

"Snap-link dungeon terrain on Kickstarter, don't miss out on FREE stretch rewards, and our GM SCREEN OF DOOM"

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Cost Sharing Reductions: It's Not Sabotage. It's Not a Bailout: Part 2

In Part 1, we learned the difference between subsidies and the much misunderstood CSR's, and why ending the latter isn't a bailout. Now we learn why it's also not "sabotage:"

It's Not Sabotage

Obviously if the Government won't pay their obligation and an insurer still must offer the better level of benefits they will have to factor these expected claims costs into their standard rates. This will push premiums up substantially. Many studies have been done on the financial impact but for ease of math let's assume it will increase costs to Silver plans by 20%.

Yes, 20% is a lot. But keep in mind rate increases in 2014, 2015, and 2016 all rose by significant amounts too. We didn't hear cries of "sabotage" back then. Instead we heard "this won't impact very many people because subsidies (tax credits) will protect them from the increases." So, how is this different? It's not. In fact, because the increases are on Silver plans it will raise the tax credit amounts and reduce the costs for Bronze, Gold, and Platinum plans to those who qualify for subsidies.

This leaves one income group potentially getting the shaft on Silver plan premiums. Anyone who doesn't qualify for a tax credit/subsidy must pay full price. It's easy to assume that these people will suffer because all the discussion - even in this post - has focused for insurance plans sold ON exchange. It's true that insurers must price the same product equally both on-exchange and off-exchange. But, insurers can also offer plans off-exchange that have slight benefit variations at different prices.

Using my example above, an insurer will offer this plan both on and off exchange. The new plan without CSR funding will cost 20% more. The smart insurer will also create a plan that closely mirrors their original plan with a slight tweak - let's say a $6,200 deductible. Because this plan is only offered off-exchange the insurer doesn't have to include the 20% mark up to fund CSR risk. This solves the problem of the 400% and above person not being able to afford a Silver plan.

So, who does this hurt? Over the next 10 years CSR payments are expected to cost more than $200 billion. It's either going to come from Congress appropriating the funds or through higher premium tax credits given to consumers.

The answer is it hurts everyone. Because those in DC want to focus on political agendas and not the real problem we all suffer. Higher taxes, higher premiums, lesser benefits, market uncertainty. All will continue. Because nobody wants to focus on the 80% side of the equation. That 80% side is the actual costs of care.

Cost Sharing Reductions: It's Not Sabotage. It's Not a Bailout: Part 1

Congress and the media are hyperventilating over the Trump Administration announcement that they will end Cost Sharing Reductions (CSR). The result is news feeds full of over-exaggeration, misrepresentation, blatant lies, and name calling. One side of the political aisle calls it sabotage. The other says it's an insurer bailout. Reality is, it's neither.

Before I explain, let's first start by answering what is the cost sharing reduction (CSR) and how does it work? It's quite simple when it's not used as a political football. But, like everything in our political world, the more the bureauweenie can confuse the consumer, the more reliant the consumer becomes on the bureauweenie.

Obamacare has two methods of "financial assistance" written in to the law to help low income individuals. The first method is premium tax credits to help pay health insurance premiums. Those have been funded and have nothing to do with the second method, CSR's.

Under Obamacare, insurance companies are required to offer people making between 100% and 250% of the Federal Poverty Level Silver level insurance plans that have lower deductibles, copays, coinsurance and out-of-pocket-maximums than the standard Silver level plans. Pricing for these plans are equal to Silver level plans that don't include the CSR's. In exchange for offering these better benefits to low income individuals, Obamacare made a promise that they would refund insurers for the claims they incur between the better benefit Silver CSR options and the standard Silver plans.

Here's an example: three 42-year old's who live in the same zip code that purchase insurance through the exchange. Each has a different income. The first has an income of $19,500, the second has an income of $30,250 and the third an income of $55,000. The actual monthly cost of the lowest priced Silver plan is $248.57. It includes a deductible of $6,100, an out-of-pocket limit of $7,000 and has an office visit copay at $30.

The first person has an income below 250% of the poverty level and the other two don't. So, under Obamacare the first person is eligible for a premium tax credit (subsidy) AND a Silver plan that has better benefits (CSR). His benefits include a $1,100 deductible, an out-of-pocket limit of $2,000 and an office visit copay of $15.

The second person has an income just above 250% but below 400% of the poverty level. Under Obamacare he is eligible for a premium tax credit (subsidy) but not a Silver plan with CSR. He will pay less than the full premium price but have the standard plan with a $6,100 deductible.

The third person is over 400% of the poverty level. He pays full price for the standard insurance plan.

Now that we understand CSR's let's explain why it's not a bailout or sabotage.

It's Not a Bailout

When insurers price their plans they are based on the standard plan. This is where the $248.57 premium comes from. The insurance company math nerds (actuaries and underwriters) develop rates based off assumed risk. This risk does not include the difference between the standard plan benefits and the better plan benefits available to those between 100% and 250% of FPL. The Federal Government -through Obamacare - agreed to reimburse insurers for these claims that they have not financially accounted for.

The amount the insurer hasn't accounted for is the difference in deductible, copay, coinsurance, and maximum out-of-pocket the consumer is liable for. Let's assume all three guys from above have a claim for $25,000. The lowest income guy is only liable for a maximum of $2,000. The second and third guys would be liable for $7,000. Insurers priced for $7,000 out-of-pocket knowing that Obamacare promised to pay the difference in claims between the standard plan limit and the better benefit limit due to Cost Sharing Reductions. In this scenario the difference in the first guy's liability and the standard liability ($7,000-$2,000) would be submitted by the insurer to the Government for reimbursement. It's also important to note that if the first guy is healthy with no claims the Government doesn't pay the insurance company at all.

As you can see, this isn't a bailout to insurers. It's reimbursement for claims they incur that weren't factored in to insurer pricing. Under Obamacare the law states that CSR's are a financial obligation of the Federal Government to insurers. Failure to pay represents a default of our Government.

We explain how it's not "Sabotage" in Part 2.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Canary in the Coal Mine – This Sceptered Isle, Part LXXIX

Unprecedented abuse of power by NHS?  Well of course it’s abuse of power.  But unprecedented?  Not so much.  Remember this? 

Fortunately, the public outcry over that one caused NHS to back down.  Who knows what NHS will do this time?

People who believe these things cannot happen in the US are seriously misinformed. Nearly the same thing happened in my own town.  It happened to neighbors of ours whose daughter was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease.  And then the hospital and bureaucrats in the State of Massachusetts took over and tortured the whole family for years.  

People who say nothing like this happens in a nationalized insurance scheme are living in a dream world. These situations will surely arise in the US even if  - and maybe especially if - we end up with some kind of government single-payer medical welfare scheme.

Mark my words.

More ObamaCare Rate Lies

Remember this?

Well, it appears that someone didn't get the memo.


From the Centenniel State:

"Colorado premiums will rise by 6% on top of existing hikes"

And finally, from the Keystone State:

"Insurance premiums for plans sold on Pennsylvania’s ObamaCare exchange will increase by an average of 30.6 percent for 2018"

It appears that most of these are as a result of President Trump's decision to follow the actual law.

Refreshing, that.

[Hat Tip: FoIB Holly R]

Friday, October 13, 2017

Obamacare - When Facts Don't Matter

Former White House COS and current Mayor of the Windy City has been quoted as saying "Never let a serious crisis go to waste.".

Taking a page from Rahmbo's playbook, the current WH resident is doing just that.

Obamacare is failing. Has been from day one. But the only folks who don't see that happening are folks that are either ignorant, those who believe the 44th president walked on water, or they are covering their ears and refusing to listen to facts.

If you are the Gordon Gekko of health insurance and believe that "Obamacare is good" no need to read further. Go to HuffPo or TMZ and have fun with that.

But the Twitterer in Chief who is not known for holding his tongue (or Twitter fingers) has thrown down the Obamacare gauntlet with this tweet.

The Democrats ObamaCare is imploding. Massive subsidy payments to their pet insurance companies has stopped. Dems should call me to fix! - The Real Donald Trump

Never let it be said that the man is indecisive.

He calls a spade a spade.

But some folks can't handle the truth.

What is extremely entertaining (to me at least) is found in the comment section below the Real Donald's tweet.

Anyone with a pre-existing condition is going to see premiums skyrocket from TrumpCare. He isn't working with the facts here. Studies, plz!

Seriously, without name calling or rudeness, here are the facts: the ACA saves lives. You are making it worse for poor people and all of us.

I wonder why Obamacare is imploding! Weird! Not sabotage, right?

Well, you get the idea.

Unless you have been indifferent to facts and truth since this mess called Obamacare came into existence.

Obamacare IS in crisis.

Obamacare HAS BEEN in crisis mode since 2013, a full year before it was completely implemented.

At this point there is no way to fix it. Too late to save it for 2018 and possibly beyond. Act II will most likely be a federally funded expansion of Medicaid for anyone not covered by employer group health insurance.

If there are any carriers offering individual health insurance in 2019 it will be those who are able to offer plans that gut the high cost parts of Obamacare, such as guaranteed issue. Medicaid  would then be not only for those who fall below a designated income level but also function as a high risk pool for those with serious health issues.

Those who want to keep Obamacare have some serious denial issues and should seek counseling while they can.

#Obamacare #TrainWreck #Snowflakes

The First Cut is the Deepest

[Note: This is an insurance-free post]

For as long as I can remember, I've always owned good kitchen knives (Wusthof, Henckels, etc). A short time back, I participated in an Indiegogo campaign for a new brand, Misen (as in mise-en-place). This new venture promised high-quality knives at more affordable prices, and I thought it looked promising.

Well, I've had my chef's knife for some months (perhaps a year?) now, and I must say that it performs very well: nice balance, able to keep an edge, comfortable grip.

What isn't so great is how well it's "aging:"

See those spots? Rust, even though I carefully hand wash and dry it after each use.

So I sent an email about it to the Misen folks (including that picture), and this is their reply:

"Hi Henry,

Thanks for sending through that photo. While not common, small stains like this can occur (even on stainless steel knives) for any number of reasons, and they’re not something to worry about!

In my experience with some other knives I’ve used in the past, a product called Bar Keeper’s Best Friend is really effective at removing minor stains like the ones in the photo. Of course, if the issue does get any more serious, please let us know and we’ll be happy to help!

All the best,

To which I say: Bull Feathers.

As previously noted, I've owned similar knives for many, many years, and have never experienced this, let alone in one that's practically brand new.

So I ask, dear readers, am I justified in my disappointment, or unreasonable?


Thursday, October 12, 2017

A Better Pill ?

As a registered Democrat, I receive several emails a day from DNC telling me what to think and what to support and asking for money.  About a week ago, one of the DNC emails told me this about employer-sponsored medical insurance: 

“Today, the Trump administration announced that they're rolling back a mandate requiring employer-provided health insurance to cover contraception -- a rule that has helped at least 55 million women across the country access care.”

There are many sources (here’s one)  that discuss this rollback; it’s far more complex than DNC suggests. But whether the issue is simple or complex; whether details are offered or suppressed; and whether facts are understood or ignored - I think this issue will remain just as controversial, emotional, and resistant to logical analysis as it was before Obamacare.    

Why is that?  Because insurance for contraception has been politicized.  It's a good example how the expanding role of government in providing medical insurance, politicizes medical coverage decisions.  The experience in many other countries teaches that politicizing medical coverage decisions is usually not a good thing.

Keep in mind DNC raised the question of coverage for women who are employed and have incomes.  The great majority of working women can buy contraception using their own income.  For them, insurance is not necessary to access contraception.  So then why do some advocates insist that coverage is unacceptable if it pays a penny less than 100%?  Is $50 a month unaffordable for most working women?  $25 a month?  And why is my own party telling me that coverage less than 100% will reduce access to care for 55 million working women? 

Also consider that employers do not pay their employees above & beyond their wages to cover food, clothing, or utilities.  Is contraception a higher priority than food, clothing, or utilities?  Is there a persuasive argument that employers are denying their employees access to food, clothing, or utilities? I’ve not seen one. Or that the federal government must step in to mandate such extra payments in the name of employee access to food, clothing, or utilities?   I think not.  And that's why I doubt that “free” contraceptive coverage for working women is necessary.   

My opinion: the fundamental issue here is less about the cost of contraception or the level of insurance coverage for it or even access to care.  Instead, the fundamental question is more about whether the federal government has a duty to mandate 100% coverage of contraception for working women.

My opinion:  coverage of contraception for employees is better left voluntary, purchased by employers who choose to purchase it (e.g., Hobby Lobby) based on their own employees' preferences and needs  And I think regardless of the employer’s choice whether to buy such coverage, it is not unreasonable to ask working women to share some part of the cost.  Maybe even the full cost.

Health Wonk Review: Pink edition

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so please forgive this brief detour:

I'm raising money to fight breast cancer with my team: Love, Hope and Faith. Our walk is on Saturday, October 21st in Dayton, Ohio.

Will you please help out by making a donation - any amount helps.

Thank you!

And now, on with the show:

First up, Bradley Flansbaum isn't bullish on long term care: over 70% of seniors will need it at some time, and they're ill-prepared to pay for it. The good news is that Bradley offers some hopeful ideas about how to resolve that.

Next, Andrew Sprung makes the case that the ACA most closely resembles London after the Blitz, citing the Trump administration's meddling as the culprit, and he's not happy about the current situation, or sanguine about the program's future.

Uber Wonk Roy Poses offers his take on what he calls the Health Care Revolving Door. He's concerned about the seemingly endless stream of folks hopping from private industry into government advisory jobs, and vice versa.

HWR co-founder (and dear friend) Julie Ferguson is our guru of WC (Workers Comp), and offers us an insight into how WC costs and benefits are distributed amongst the 50 states. I know very little about WC, and found her information pretty interesting.

Our good friend (and fellow long-time HWR host) Louise Norris offers something I've never seen before. I'll let her explain:

"This post was written by myself and three colleagues: David Anderson, Charles Gaba, and Andrew Sprung. It's an overview of the different approaches that states and insurers have taken with regards to the CSR funding uncertainty for 2018, and the impact that those various approaches have on consumers and overall plan pricing."

Okay, so very interesting Henry, but what makes this unique?


"We all published it concurrently on our blogs this morning."

Isn't that cool? I don't think I've ever seen a post co-written and then concurrently posted like this before.


Our friend Dr Dana Beezley-Smith has been published once again in The National Psychologist, this time on the subject of price transparency in health care (Spoiler Alert: she's for it).

Our own Mike Feehan has a scary pre-Halloween story to tell, as he warns us that the Health Insurance Fee that was temporarily put back on the shelf for 2017 will loom large next year. Why's that? Well, last year it cost insureds about $13 billion. So do the math.

The next 'Review is in two weeks over at David Williams' establishment.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Single Payer Blues

So let's see what our Friends Across the Pond© have been up to. Via our friend Rich W:

"A growing crisis in hospital safety is revealed in official figures showing a doubling in the number of legal warnings issued by NHS watchdogs."


The number of "enforcement actions" (basically citations) has more than doubled in the past year, and it doesn't appear that that rate's slowing down:

"Recent actions include a warning notice to Royal Cornwall Hospitals trust after inspectors found patients dying and left to go blind after long waits for treatment."

But hey, free!

On the other hand, it's not as if our own hands are clean:

"VA conceals shoddy care and health workers' mistakes"


Fortunately for those who served our country, putting their lives on the line for all of us, VA healthcare professionals are top-notch.

Oh, wait:

"Medical experts from the Department of Veterans Affairs blamed one botched surgery after another on a lone podiatrist ... In 88 cases, the VA concluded, Franchini made mistakes that harmed veterans."

Good thing the VA bureauweenies caught him in time, and that he paid a severe penalty.

"They let him quietly resign and move on to private practice, then failed for years to disclose his past ... He now works as a podiatrist in New York City."


Okay, well then, good thing this was just a one-off.


"In other cases, veterans’ hospitals signed secret settlement deals with dozens of doctors, nurses and health care workers that included promises to conceal serious mistakes ."

Words fail.

On the bright side, it's not as if single payer systems promote murdering patients to save precious and scarce health care dollars, right?

Um, you may want to be sitting down for this:

"Now, in Canada, a doctor can not only deny life-saving treatment for a person in their right mind who wants it, but actually have that patient, against the patient’s will and with their full mental faculties, outright executed by lethal injection."

"Free" health care: worth every penny you pay for it.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


"Majority of Households Paying Obamacare Penalty Are Low and Middle-Income"

Almost 4 out of 5 of those penalized bring in under $50,000 a year.

Please remind me what the first "A" in PPACA stands for?

As we noted yesterday, folks who don't qualify for subsides (because they make just a tad too much, but not enough to get out from underneath this trainwreck) are facing record rate increases, and now those folks who can't even afford to buy insurance are getting hit with penalties for going bare.

Something's got to give.

Methinks Maxine was right all along.

[Hat Tip: AssocAmerPhys&Surg]

Monday, October 09, 2017

ACA #Winning: More Lies

You may have seen #FakeNews items like this floating around the 'net, with glaring, fear-mongering headlines:

"Steep Premiums Challenge People Who Buy Health Insurance Without Subsidies"

Don't be fooled by them, we know the truth:

Friday, October 06, 2017

Borrowing a Ride(r)

This is interesting, from the folks at The Standard insurance company:

"With the Student Loan Rider, if you become totally disabled and can’t work, we’ll reimburse all or a portion of your student loan payments so you don’t fall behind."

Now, we've seen imaginative disability insurance products before:

"But what if, because I’m disabled, I’m not earning any income? Even if I could afford to do so (and how many disabled folks are?), I’m not allowed to contribute to my plan until and unless I’m back to work."

Hence, MassMutual's RetireGuard product, which puts money aside for your retirement for you if you're disabled. This new product from The Standard is actually a rider available to physicians and dentist, rather than a standalone policy.

How does it work?

Well, if you're a doc (or dentist) and your Standard DI plan includes this rider, then they'll "reimburse you for your monthly student loan payments if you suffer a total disability and are unable to work." So it's a paid-as-you-go arrangement.

Interesting, really: just when you thought that there's nothing new under the sun, a carrier will come along and prove you wrong.


Thursday, October 05, 2017

From the annals of the MVNHS©

The Much Vaunted National Health Service© continues its proud tradition:

"Most recently, Professor Ted Baker-- the new chief hospital inspector-- declared it was “not fit for the 21st century.”


Turns out, the bureauweenies who actually run the hot mess seem perfectly okay with "[normalizing] wholly unsatisfactory treatment that endangers patients and guard against unacceptable and unsafe practices."

Examples, please?


- Piling patients into hallways
- lack of proper patient monitoring
- shortage of oxygen and medical supplies
But hey: "Free!"

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

MidWeek LinkFest

Our friend Dr Dana Beezley-Smith has been published once again in The National Psychologist, this time on the subject of price transparency in health care (Spoiler Alert: she's for it):

"We could create cost-unconscious consumers in virtually any industry in the country if we introduced third-party coverage."

Yup - Recommended.

Via FoIB Rich W, a thousand words on the failure of Single Payer:

In email from Anthem, some good news:

"Anthem, Inc., has reached a settlement to resolve the multi-district class action litigation relating to the 2015 cyber attack against the company. The settlement did not include any finding of wrongdoing, and Anthem did not admit any wrongdoing or that any individuals were harmed as a result of the cyber attack."


On the other hand:

"Equifax says 2.5M additional individuals potentially victimized during data breach."


ProTip: LifeLock (with special 10% IB discount)

Finally, remember that explicit "If you like your plan..." promise? Well - and you'll want to sit down for this - that guy lied:

"In the face of significant uncertainty surrounding the future direction of U.S. health care policy, Premier Health Plan will discontinue Premier HealthOne Off-Exchange plans on December 31, 2017. This follows Premier Health Plan's June 2017 announcement regarding the 2018 exit from the On-Exchange marketplace"

#ACAWinning #ACACompetition

Monday, October 02, 2017

And some more anecdata

Another in our (seemingly unending) series.

Amy has had her grandmothered United Healthcare HSA-compliant plan since 2013. It sports a $3,000 annual deductible, after which all covered expenses are paid for at 100%. And since it's a PPO plan, she has coverage both in and out of network.

Her current rate of $252 a month is going up by 5%, to $267 a month.

I've suggested that she kiss UHC on the mouth.


Well, she doesn't qualify for a subsidy, so the least expensive comparable Exchange plan (offered by Anthem, believe it or not) is just shy of $300 a month, but it does have a $6,550 deductible/out-of-pocket. Plus, it's an HMO plan, which means that there is essentially zero out-of-network coverage.

Now, she does have some options: for example, she can increase her deductible to $4,000 and save just shy of $400 a year, which might make some sense. We shall see.