Aetna’s CEO Ron Williams answered unequivically “yes”. A day after Obama and the Democrats smiled and waved and then self-destructive Congressmen got slappy-happy at the Tune Inn bar in celebration of their accomplishment, the CEO of the the company that provides health insurance benefits for 36 million Americans told Business Week: “yes”. The new legislation being loved and petted and called adorable nicknames by the Democrats in power will absolutely cause health insurance premiums to rise.
Reality just came home.
Will insurance premiums go up?
The answer is yes, and some of the things that will drive those premiums are significant additional taxes the industry will ultimately have to pay in the first year.
Utopia is still one Obama Hopeychange buzz away. Health insurance, painful to pay, just became excruciating.
The President said that this bill would not have any impact on people who already had coverage, that it was about the uninsured, that there would be no change. Will this legislation change the coverage of people who are already paying for it?
My perception is, yes, things will change. You might not have a plan that includes the exact same doctors. You might have plans that have richer benefits, and therefore you’re going to pay more for benefits you may or may not want. It would have been a better message to say, we’re going to make certain you maintain your eligibility.
A “better message” wasn’t the objective. Passage was.
As the dust has settled on the promises that have been kicked and swept into the air like a fog of gritty misdirection, the sunlight is blaring through the flaws of the rambling plan.
For instance, Democrats forgot to include coverage for sick children with pre-existing conditions. In their harried hype to sell the public on a nonexistent health care pipe dream, a loophole in the bill does not actually force health insurance companies to cover children with pre-existing conditions. And if they do provide coverage, they can increase the cost of the premium.
William G. Schiffbauer, a lawyer whose clients include employers and insurance companies, said: “The fine print differs from the larger political message. If a company sells insurance, it will have to cover pre-existing conditions for children covered by the policy. But it does not have to sell to somebody with a pre-existing condition. And the insurer could increase premiums to cover the additional cost.”
Oops. Guess they missed that one.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius tried to close that loophole with a sharply worded letter on Monday.
“Health insurance reform is designed to prevent any child from being denied coverage because he or she has a pre-existing condition,” she wrote America’s Health Insurance Plans. “Now is not the time to search for nonexistent loopholes that preserve a broken system.”
However, saying a loophole doesn’t exists does not make that loophole go away, just like saying you don’t owe taxes won’t make the IRS leave you be. It comes down to the efficiency and competency of the actual legislation. Obama’s ironclad promise that benefits for sick children begin this year, may end up being yet another ephemeral campaign slogan.
The actual “availability of coverage” for all doesn’t kick in until 2014. Of course, by that time the health insurance mandates will be tacked onto the head of every individual in America, a burden the younger generation will feel immediately when their premiums increase 17 percent.
Beginning in 2014, most Americans will be required to buy insurance or pay a tax penalty. That’s when premiums for young adults seeking coverage on the individual market would likely climb by 17 percent on average, or roughly $42 a month, according to an analysis of the plan conducted for The Associated Press.
The analysis didn’t cover tax credits to help offset the cost. However, those credits are limited and will vary based on income and premium costs.
But on average, people younger than 35 who are buying their own insurance on the individual market would pay $42 a month more, according to an analysis by Rand Health, a research division of the nonpartisan Rand Corp.
These are a few of the prunes you’ll find among the Obamacare apple tree.
In the end of the interview, Aetna CEO Ron Williams said his 35,000 employees were “perplexed and really, I think, very disappointed in the leadership of the country” when they became demonized by Obama and the Democrats for political purposes.