Monday, December 30, 2013

Will Obamacare Increase Health Insurance Coverage? Or Decrease It?

It is actually a quite legitimate question.  Shockingly enough, this report comes not from some right-wing crackpot group, but from December 29, 2013 NBC News.  What is described as "one of the 100 best car dealerships to work for in the country last year" is dropping its group health insurance for employees.  Instead it:
will instead provide its employees with $2,400 apiece to buy their own insurance, or to pocket and pay the new federal penalty if they elect to go without it.
That’s a little bit more than the company says it spent on health insurance this year.  Dealership owner Wesley Lutz said his decision to go in a new direction was driven by the fact that health insurance is “incredibly expensive” and getting more so. He says he needs to be able to control his future costs.
“As a business owner, we have to be viable first and then provide services,” he said. Lutz is not required to provide health insurance to workers, but has done so for 35 years.
Wow.   One of the good guys in business -- a firm that has been providing group health insurance to most of its employees for 35 years, is dropping the plan.  And yes, it is good of them to provide $2400 per year to the employees to assist them in purchasing insurance, but this is less than the cost of buying it through the exchanges for most employees:
A handful of the Extreme Dodge workers came out winners -- mostly low-wage earners who qualify for subsidies and therefore pay very little for insurance. The biggest winner is Brandon Chisholm, a detailer with two daughters, who will get health insurance for the first time, and will have to pay virtually nothing for it because he qualifies for a big government subsidy. That means he can bank the $200 a month the company is giving workers to replace the health insurance it previously provided.
It turns out that the deductibles for the plan that most of the employees are signing up for -- which is more than $2400 per year -- are very high:
Their deductibles will go from $1,125 this year to $3,000 next year, and maximum out-of-pocket costs jump from $2,250 to $6,350. And for families, those numbers double: to a $6,000 deductible and $12,700 out-of-pocket maximum.
“How is this helping the average American that’s working 40 to 50 hours per week?” said Terry Hardcastle, a salesperson. “How are we supposed to live?”
You aren't.  Obama and the Democrats are relying on the voters who think Kim Kardashian is important.

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