By Jason Freeman, J. Freeman and Associates
There is a lot of information and discussion “out there” about the new health care law. Some of it is good. Some of it is very confusing. Conflicting messages, inaccuracies, negativity and hearsay have led to many misconceptions. We regularly hear things like:
- Health insurance plans must be purchased through the Marketplace. This is false. Individuals and business owners can still purchase health care coverage through private brokers or directly from insurance carriers. Just be sure that it is a qualified plan that meets the new federal requirements. You can also have a private insurance broker help you sign up through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
- If you already have a health plan, you can keep it. This is generally true. However, the health care law requires all plans to include a broader set of benefits. As a result, many insurers are leaving the market, or discontinuing some plans because they do not include the required benefits, and doing so is cost prohibitive. Millions of Americans have already received these cancellation notices, forcing them to shop for new coverage.
- My premium will be less under Obamacare. This is a maybe. All plans are required to cover essential services that may not have been covered by your previous plan. It is also possible that you may qualify for a subsidy.
- My premium will be more under Obamacare. This one is also a maybe, but more than likely, true. If your current provider is abandoning the market and you need to find a new plan, you will most likely see an increase. If your current plan does not meet the new federal requirements, your new plan premium or total out-of-pocket cost will no doubt be higher.
In South Carolina, lawmakers are working to pass legislation that would eliminate the ACA in this state. The bill outlaws state health care exchanges and prohibits state agencies, officers and employees from implementing any part of the federal health care reform. The state would issue tax deductions to any South Carolina residents that pay the federal penalty for not complying with the ACA.
Be aware—ultimately medical insurance will be nothing more than a tax. So, when your insurance agent delivers the bad news, don’t shoot the messenger. It’s actually already happening, to some extent, under the current version of the ACA. Your premiums (taxpayer dollars) are spent on insurance subsidies to offset the cost of health insurance for low income individuals and families. And since everyone is required to have some form of policy or pay a fine, it kind of sounds like a tax—doesn’t it?
The full effect of the ACA on the overall economy is yet to be seen. Corporate profits will remain as companies find ways to survive. Jobs will be eliminated to keep the number of employees below 50 (the minimum requirement to offer health insurance) or just cover the increased cost of health insurance. Full time workers will be reduced to part time, other positions will be subcontracted out, and some job functions will be farmed out overseas. Ultimately we will find ourselves facing a much more complex dilemma than a non-functioning government website.
In the future, top medical care may very well be harder to come by. Quality care will become quantity care. Will the liability of our medical professionals become more controlled when they are being forced to treat a number versus an individual?
But who’s really behind these changes to our health care system? How many pharmacies were in a 5 mile radius of you 10 years ago? How many today? Are the pharmaceutical companies striving for and profiting from posturing of our new world of medical insurance for all?
We have always been told to “be careful for what you wish for.” Did we really wish for every American to be insured? This country was built on having the God-given right to choose, not the right to be covered.