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TMFHelical (98.68)

What Healthcare Reform means to Consumers

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March 29, 2010 – Comments (15)

I expect that people are probably more than a little tired of the rhetoric around health care reform, whether it is good, bad, or otherwise in particular.  Also, in these parts there has been plenty of commentary on what companies stand to benefit or struggle based on the now passed legislation.

This post is not interested in either of those things.

Instead, I wanted to link a couple of informational sources that comment on what the legislation means to us, the consumers of health care and when we need to worry about it.

 

The first is a summary of the bills requirements and obligations on consumers put together by the New York times: 

How the Health Care Overhaul Could Affect You

Note that it will be business as usual for many consumers in the near term, particularly those obtaining insurance via an employer, but come 2014 there will be additional obligations and options for consumers to concern themselves with.  The commentary is organized by the situation the consumer is currently, or expects to be, in e.g. insured on your own, insured through employer, uninsured, etc. [Shoutout to Eye on FDA blog for bringing this to my attention.]

Second is a commentary prepared by accounting firm Dixon Hughes:  

Health Care Reform Acts

This is a broader commentary on the bill.  In addition to bullet pointing information of interest to consumers, this commentary also contains information to employers and businesses as to what they will need to concern themselves with related to providing care to employees. The outline is in a timeline fashion detailing what changes take place when.  [Thank to TMFMurph for bringing this information to my attention].

 

TMFHelical

Home Coverage Fool

 

15 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On March 29, 2010 at 10:34 AM, devoish (98.60) wrote:

You are probably not going to get very many "recs" for a healthcare related post that does not say 'Obama sucks' or 'Gov't takeover' but for posting an honest apolitical post on what the healthcare plan really does, you'll get one from me.

I think this is the best post on 'Obamacare' in the last year, and it deserves 100 recs.

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#2) On March 29, 2010 at 10:58 AM, Melaschasm (55.93) wrote:

Thank goodness you linked to a story in the NYT, because they have never ever allowed political bias to influence one of their stories. 

 

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#3) On March 29, 2010 at 11:16 AM, Turfscape (44.95) wrote:

Melaschasm wrote:
"Thank goodness you linked to a story in the NYT, because they have never ever allowed political bias to influence one of their stories."

The severity of eye-rolling that your post has caused me has actually left me with a headache.

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#4) On March 29, 2010 at 2:51 PM, TMFHelical (98.68) wrote:

devoish -- thanks.  Nuts and bolts of a situation are always worth knowing.

Melaschasm -- huh?  At least look at what was linked first.  It wasn't an opinion piece.

Turfscape -- LOL

TMFHelical

Home Coverage Fool

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#5) On March 29, 2010 at 3:10 PM, Option1307 (29.63) wrote:

Premiums for individual policies will be 10 to 13 percent higher by 2016 than the average premium that year under current law, according to Congressional estimates.

Perfect, I've always wanted to pay more for my health insurance!

The problem that I've had all along with this legislation is that it does very little, if anything, to address the rising healthcare costs. In fact, I'd argue that it will significantly raise costs in the near future.

Insurers will not be permitted to deny children coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

That's fine if we want to cover them, I'm not arguing we shouldn't. But the fact is that this will significantly raise prices for all. This forces insurance companies to insure those in the population that are the sickest, ie most expensive to take care of. This essentially has to raise prices.

If you are refused coverage because of your health, you can get insurance from a new high-risk pool.

The pool will be established within six months and will operate until 2014, when insurance companies can no longer refuse applicants with pre-existing health problems. Annual out-of-pocket medical costs will be capped at $5,950 for individuals and $11,900 for families.

Again, I'm not arguing we shouldn't cover these people, but capping out of pocket expenses ~$500/month will in no way cover their actual medical costs. Thus, prices will rise for the general population to make up the difference.

We can argue all day about if health insurance is a privaledge or right, but it seems fairly obvious to me that this legislation is going to significantly increase halthcare costs for our country in the near future. There will simply be more people receiving care in general, and many of these "new" people will be needing the most expensive care out there.

 

Thanks for the informative post, it's helpful to see a run down of the changes.

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#6) On March 29, 2010 at 4:36 PM, Rehydrogenated (32.18) wrote:

Wow, thanks for posting these links. I was desperate for a summary of the changes on a timeline in a way i could read and explain to my boss.

Our company actually qualifies for the small business tax credit! We are a small company that gives great benefits, so getting back 35% of our healthcare costs will be awesome.

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#7) On March 29, 2010 at 4:44 PM, Option1307 (29.63) wrote:

JakilaTheHun posted several other Health Care articles the other day that I found interseting, check them out here.

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#8) On March 29, 2010 at 4:51 PM, devoish (98.60) wrote:

There will also be limits on overhead and profit. Insurers will be required to spend between 80 cents and 85 cents of every premium dollar on health care. They have been paying about 74 cents on average.

Starting in 2014, insurers cannot deny coverage because of a person’s medical condition or charge higher premiums because of a person’s sex or health status. All new plans have to offer a minimum package of benefits defined by the federal government, including certain preventive services without any costs.

Current plans don’t have to meet higher benefit standards of new policies. But the plan may not be viable for long because insurers cannot add benefits or enroll more people in noncompliant policies. Within six months, the plans will have to stop some practices, like setting annual limits on coverage and canceling policy holders who get sick. They will also have to allow children to stay on their parents’ policies until they turn 26. Plans that include coverage of children cannot deny coverage for a pre-existing medical condition

It may cost, but at least we will get healthcare for our money.

Those who are exempt, or under 30, can buy a policy that only pays for catastrophic medical costs. It must allow for three primary care visits a year as well.

Medicare will pay for an annual checkup. And deductibles and co-payments for many preventive services and screenings will be eliminated.

Starting in 2014, insurers cannot deny coverage because of a person’s medical condition or charge higher premiums because of a person’s sex or health status. All new plans have to offer a minimum package of benefits defined by the federal government, including certain preventive services without any costs.

Primary care visits and ealy diagnosis are intended to reduce costs by catching health conditions when they are small and cheap not big and expensive. Many people claim this reduces costs, though I personally have not seen the data that proves it.

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#9) On March 29, 2010 at 5:00 PM, SUPERMANSTOCKS (59.52) wrote:

What it means to me is that, I'm getting screwed over!

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#10) On March 29, 2010 at 5:26 PM, Turfscape (44.95) wrote:

devoish wrote:
"Many people claim this reduces costs, though I personally have not seen the data that proves it."

Correct. There is no data to prove it. It stands as a hypothesis only. However, it IS cheaper to provide a flu shot at a PCP than to admit an influenza patient into the ER. Is that sort of thing enough to offset costs. Mostly likely, no...not even close.

But, is this the sort of thing that should be measured solely in dollars spent versus dollars recovered? Can we even accurately measure true dollars involved? That's the part of the debate that can/will go on indefinitely.

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#11) On March 30, 2010 at 9:03 AM, devoish (98.60) wrote:

Turfscape,

I don't think the dollars saved can be accurately measured. Use your flu shot example. Imagine the A&P stock clerk who did not get his uninsured flu shot last year and got you and ten thousand others sick and ruined your ski trip when you stayed miserable inside a slopeside villa. This year he has insurance now, gets his flu shot and instead you break a leg on the slopes costing healthcare much more. Or you have a nice vacation sunning yourself silly in Costa Rica saving us all a few bucks.

Of course the real solution is that the stock clerk makes enough money he can afford to saty home when he's sick,  and the A&P makes enough money they can afford enough extra help (waste and inefficiency most of the year) to let him.

You are right. This part of the debate will go on indefinitely.

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#12) On March 31, 2010 at 10:45 AM, Melaschasm (55.93) wrote:

Melaschasm -- huh?  At least look at what was linked first.  It wasn't an opinion piece.

My complaint isn't with the article, but rather with the notion that this is suddenly an honest accurate explanation of Obamacare, and by extension all the partisan attacks against it were just wild accusations.

Ironically, I have not said much against Obamacare.  While I am philisophically opposed to his plan, I am not shocked by it.  I see Obama replacing a somewhat socialist system with a somewhat more socialist system.  This seems to happen at least once or twice every decade, as the US slowly robs the future to create a false sense of security now. 

 

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#13) On March 31, 2010 at 4:51 PM, devoish (98.60) wrote:

Melaschasm,

My complaint isn't with the article, but rather with the notion that this is suddenly an honest accurate explanation of Obamacare, and by extension all the partisan attacks against it were just wild accusations.

It is an honest, accurate explanation of the healthcare plan, and many of the partisan attacks against it were just wild accusations.

Unless you found something to dispute something in the article.

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#14) On March 31, 2010 at 7:24 PM, devoish (98.60) wrote:

Here is just one example of partisan attacks that were just wild accusations. 

As I understand it, we have taken over the country," says Kastner, who is a proud member of the Milwaukee local of the Socialist Party. "The Republicans in Congress, the talk radio, all through the health-care debate, they've been saying its proof that the Socialists are in charge. Can you believe it?"

There really are socialists in America, unapologetic adherents of the social gospel of Norman Thomas and the "an-injury-to-one-is-an-injury-to-all" working-class populism of Eugene Victor Debs – and, of course, of the remarkable Milwaukee tradition that produced Socialist Mayors Emil Seidel, Dan Hoan and Frank Zeidler, as well as the nation's first Socialist congressman, free-speech champion Victor Berger.

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#15) On April 02, 2010 at 10:14 AM, TMFHelical (98.68) wrote:

Socialism?  Isn't that something we learn about in the public school system : )

 

TMFHelical 

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