Obamacare encourages worthless health insurance

Obamacare is going to ensure that everyone gets good health insurance, right? Okay, that’s a joke, but it’s even worse than we thought:

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. . .

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.

It seems that while Democrats were putting first-dollar coverage for checkups into the mandatory health plan, they forgot the actual insurance part. (As the New York Post puts it, it’s like auto insurance that covers six oil changes per year, but has no coverage for collisions.)

Interestingly, the part of Obamacare that requires actual insurance coverage is mandatory for individuals and small businesses, but not for large ones:

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. . . 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.

So Democrats gave a break to big businesses that they refused to individuals and small businesses. (ASIDE: Note that when Democrats profess their love of small business, they don’t mean it.)

In fact, only 19% of Americans with private insurance get it individually or from a small business. Thus few people are actually covered by the Obamacare mandates, are those who are covered are the ones who can least afford it.

It’s important to note that some companies switching to the “skinny”, Obamacare-approved, non-insurance health plan previously offered actual health insurance:

San Antonio-based Bill Miller Bar-B-Q, a 4,200-worker chain, will replace its own mini-med with a new, skinny plan in July and will aim to price the plan at less than $50 a month, about the same as the current policy.

Of course, mini-med plans aren’t great, but at least they offer some worthwhile coverage. Obamacare is forcing their replacement by plans with no insurance component at all.

The liberals who think they can control people’s actions, despite being warned of the law of unintended consequences, continue to be surprised by it:

“We wouldn’t have anticipated that there’d be demand for these types of band-aid plans in 2014,” said Robert Kocher, a former White House health adviser who helped shepherd the law. “Our expectation was that employers would offer high quality insurance.”

Fools. They never, ever learn.

(Via Ricochet.)

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