Thursday, March 6, 2014

Change 32 To Obamacare: If you like your plan, you can keep your plan until there is a new President to deal with this mess

President Obama's favorite President once said: 
“The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly.” ― Abraham Lincoln
I guess we know that Mr. Obama studied President Lincoln's words.  At this rate, however, I'm not sure there is much sense in trying to repeal Obamacare.  President Obama appears on the path to doing that himself.  

Via the 32nd change by executive fiat to Obamacare, President Obama will allow individuals and small group enrollees (but not large groups of over 50 in California) with health insurance plans that don't comply with PPACA's original but ever-changing standards to keep them up to three more years if their states allow that, officials said Wednesday in announcing a series of final Obamacare rules.  People who maintain those plans, and who renew them as late as Oct. 1, 2016, will be able to keep them until as late as 2017.

These are the so called "junk" plans that the government insisted we needed to eliminate.  And then the President de-un-grandfathered them in late 2013 after seeing how badly his law operated.  Now His Excellent Majesty is commanding those plans be re-de-un-grandfathered again until there is some other President to clean up his mess.

Once someone leaves a non-compliant plan, they lose their grandfather status and can’t return to it.  So the responsible crowd of early adopters who were following the letter of the statute are once again going to find themselves out of luck.  Responsibility and early adoption are very dangerous under the President's health law.

Here are three other elements of the President's latest changes:
  • Insurer Access to More Taxpayer Dollars: The government is lowering the threshold at which insurers get taxpayer dollars for operating Obamacare Exchange plans.  They have now decreased the reinsurance attachment point from $60,000 to $45,000 for a single large claim in the 2014 benefit year.  This is widely believed to be the olive branch the government is offering to Exchange insurers because every person who operates outside of the Exchange (which this latest change makes easier to do) increases the likelihood that insurers will lose more money in those Exchanges.  Response: lower taxpayer thresholds to send checks to insurers.  
  • A Kickback to Unions: March 5th's new announcements also gave a financial slap on the back to the types of self-insured health plans run by most unions, excluding them for two years from the $63-per-person reinsurance tax assessed for each plan enrollee.  Now excluded from the obligation to make reinsurance contributions for 2015 and 2016 are certain self-insured, self-administered group health plans. The caveat of self administration is what makes this a benefit almost entirely to large unions. 
  • Price Controls on Dental Insurance: Additionally, the Administration established that a stand-alone dental plan covering the pediatric dental essential health benefit (EHB) required under 45 CFR 155.1065 in any Obamacare Exchange must meet governmental price controls.  Cost sharing may not exceed $350 for one covered child and $700 for two or more covered children.  
My appearance on the Armstrong and Getty Show on March 7th discussing this latest change in Obamacare: