“Bare-bones” employer health insurance plans coming thanks to #ObamaCare

The Wall Street Journal reports on what National Review Online’s Veronique de Rugy calls one more in the law of “unintended consequences” to the implementation of our President’s “signature law” – ObamaCare (via Memeorandum –bolded emphasis added by me):

Employers are increasingly recognizing they may be able to avoid certain penalties under the federal health law by offering very limited plans that can lack key benefits such as hospital coverage.

Benefits advisers and insurance brokers—bucking a commonly held expectation that the law would broadly enrich benefits—are pitching these low-benefit plans around the country. They cover minimal requirements such as preventive services, but often little more. Some of the plans wouldn’t cover surgery, X-rays or prenatal care at all. Others will be paired with limited packages to cover additional services, for instance, $100 a day for a hospital visit.

Federal officials say this type of plan, in concept, would appear to qualify as acceptable minimum coverage under the law, and let most employers avoid an across-the-workforce $2,000-per-worker penalty for firms that offer nothing. Employers could still face other penalties they anticipate would be far less costly.

It is unclear how many employers will adopt the strategy, but a handful of companies have signed on and an industry is sprouting around the tactic. More than a dozen brokers and benefit-administrators in 10 states said they were discussing the strategy with their clients.

“There had to be a way out” of the penalty for employers with low-wage workers, said Todd Dorton, a consultant and broker for Gallagher Benefit Services Inc., a unit of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., who has enrolled several employers in the limited plans.

Pan-American Life Insurance Group Inc. has promoted a package including bare-bones plans, according to brokers in California, Kansas and other states and company documents. Carlo Mulvenna, an executive at New Orleans-based Pan-American, confirmed the firm is developing these types of products, and said it would adjust them as regulators clarify the law.

The idea that such plans would be allowable under the law has emerged only recently. Some benefits advisers still feel they could face regulatory uncertainty. The law requires employers with 50 or more workers to offer coverage to their workers or pay a penalty. Many employers and benefits experts have understood the rules to require robust insurance, covering a list of “essential” benefits such as mental-health services and a high percentage of workers’ overall costs. Many employers, particularly in low-wage industries, worry about whether they—or their workers—can afford it.

But a close reading of the rules makes it clear that those mandates affect only plans sponsored by insurers that are sold to small businesses and individuals, federal officials confirm. That affects only about 30 million of the more than 160 million people with private insurance, including 19 million people covered by employers, according to a Citigroup Inc. report. Larger employers, generally with more than 50 workers, need cover only preventive services, without a lifetime or annual dollar-value limit, in order to avoid the across-the-workforce penalty.

What.a.surprise. Not. Hate to say “Toldjah So” but in this instance its well-worth reminding people. Heck, most of us “Toldjah So” with respect to this law long before it passed via lots of strong-arming and the backroom arm twisting and political promises that candidate Obama, when first running for the highest office in the land, told us he couldn’t stand – tactics he would seek to “change.” Riiiight.

All that glitters is not gold and, in fact, you didn’t even have to read the fine print in the “Affordable Care Act” to figure out what a monstrous, disastrous, unhealthy law this was for our nation and its people.  Hours are being cut, full time employee status types are changing to part time, jobs are being lost, employer plan coverages all across the country are changing to either being unaffordable or worthless to the average workaday Jane and Joe, and no in many instances people have NOT been able to KEEP THEIR PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIANS as a result of the passage of this law – one of the biggest whoppers told about this bill early on by its proponents.  Employer health plan offerings as we know them are changing – and not for the better.  This is, of course, in keeping with our President and his party’s ultimate goal: single payer health care coverage.

You got what you asked for, 51%. Too bad the rest of us have to suffer long-term for your woefully ill-informed decision to not only vote our celebrity President in the first time, but also for being clueless enough to turn around and do it again.

Will they ever learn?


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