Streams

In the Market For Health Insurance

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Four local residents share why they're looking to buy insurance through the new Obamacare exchanges and what criteria they're using for making their choices:

  • Pilar, contract associate producer at CBS Religion (and former BL Show intern);
  • Karen, mother, wife, student from Westfield, NJ; 
  • Bob, consultant, husband, and father from Montclair, NJ; and 
  • Elisabeth, Lower East Side resident, freelance oral historian.

 

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Comments [38]

Steffi

I too tried to sign up in NYC, but ran into errors and was told after calling the hotline, since I might qualify for subsidies or Medicaid, that I would have to wait until mid-December, before I could learn what plans I would be eligible for. That is when those plans would be offered. If I didn't hear from them by then, that is when I should call the hotline back.

Oct. 10 2013 11:24 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ Jason P. from New Jersey

OK, you're far more reasonable than RBC so let's take this on your points:

1.) HDHP's may not be all that profitable now, mainly because so few people want or have them, that will not be the case when millions of healthy people in their twenties and thirties have to buy these plans to avoid a 2% hit to their annual income. They aren't high margin products, given, but neither does Wal Mart operate on a high margin, they don't have to when they practically own the low end segment of the US Consumer discretionary market.

2.)"There are many people who are working full time that have major illnesses." Yes there are many. That wasn't my point. They represent a small minority (tiny%) of people with serious illness. Highly skilled people in highly paid positions can work through serious illness. Nobody tells Dick Cheney to work an 8 hour shift with a 1/2 hour lunch break and do it 6 days a week or find another job. If a working person (the VAST majority or people) get sick they often can't continue to work and end up on government benefits and/or supported by family members.

3.)"First, the IRS tax penalty will go to the government coffers, not the health care companies." PLEASE stop trying to deflect attention away from the fact that the government IS DIRECTLY SUBSIDIZING THE HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES with $$$. Most people, even healthy people, cannot afford health insurance and so rather than lose their meager Tax refund to an IRS penalty they will buy some crappy HDHP and get ZERO benefit from it but still function as a conduit to funnel Federal $ into Insurance company coffers.

4.)Still, nobody has answered me, what happens when insurance companies and doctors start negotiating contracts? Why would either WANT lower costs since their profitability is tied to a government subsidy/law that only goes up when the COSTS a doctor charges go up? Gee whiz, I dunno...

Oct. 08 2013 11:35 AM

"I’ve often said that the Affordable Care Act is the end of the beginning of reform. Starting October 1, 2014, that law will signify the beginning of the end of the health insurance industry as we know it.

As I’ve noted previously, my former CEO at Cigna said at a leadership retreat that what kept him up at night was the fear that big health insurance corporations might someday be viewed as unnecessary middlemen, that their “value proposition” would come under scrutiny and found to be wanting. That insurance companies would, to use his term, be disintermediated.

That day has arrived."

~ Wendell Potter

Oct. 06 2013 09:27 AM
Jason P. from New Jersey

(over)

The second part of Mr. Bad's statement I didn't agree with was this:

"The actuarial risk to cover healthy people in their 20's and 30's? ROFL. Doesn't even merit a reply. You make it sound like this is a country of 30K instead of 350 million. We aren't all sick, crippled or terminally stupid. The insurance companies wrote this law to make the money and the IRS enforced tax penalty will compel most to pony up your profits or take the hit on April 15".

First, the IRS tax penalty will go to the government coffers, not the health care companies. And there's no tax breaks in the law for health insurers. The only real winner here in the ACA are the federal and (some) state governments; (1)get to collect taxes (particularly those states where the insurers pay premium taxes) and (2)reduce the risk of covering health care costs for the uninsured.

And yes, there are actuarial risks for young people (this is the part that commenter "RBC" gets correct). There are actuarial risks for everyone that is on an insurance plan. The IBNR (estimate of claims that an insurer will eventually pay) for the lower risk customers aren't large but the insurers are mandated by state insurance laws to carry a reserve for these customers on the financial statements. Valuating & calculating this risk was part of my job for 28 years. Trust me, there's an estimate of claims experience for EVERYONE on an insurance plan.

Oct. 05 2013 05:34 PM
Jason P. from New Jersey

This has been one of the best comment sections I've read. I'm a retired underwriter so I understand the banter between Mr. Bad & RBC.

Thanks for the link to the book from Wendell Potter. But realize why health insurers became greedy bastards - when they became publicly traded companies. The insurance companies are not controlled by the health care industry (as they used to be); they are controlled by Wall Street investors who demand certain margins every year. That's how the industry went wrong. Actually Potter wrote a great article about the problems with
this set up.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wendell-potter/its-ceo-pay-shock-not-pre_b_3085238.html

As for HDHPs, they do reduce costs to the insurers, but they do reduce revenues. They're akin to ASO health plans for companies - the customer pays the claims & the insurer collects the admin fee. But the insurers don't make any money from the admin fees. Insurers can't even break even from admin-only clients. The only way in which to make real profit was through fully insured plans, the most expensive on the market. But it didn't take HDHPs to shift more costs towards consumers - they've been shifting costs to consumers for years through raising co-pays and paycheck contributions.

The two parts from Mr. Bad that I disagree with was this:

"Who are these super sick people with good paying jobs and lots of spending cash? The only people who fit that description are on Medicare and retired. Most people with a serious chronic illness are not employed and their costs are born by medicaid or family members."

That's false. There are many people who are working full time that have major illnesses. My sister who's 53 has chronic emphysema but works full time. She can't retire because she's not old enough for Soc Sec or Medicare. And she's not eligible for Medicaid. One of my best friends from my Navy days has everything known to man (heart disease, diabetes, a bout with colon cancer, etc.) but he's still working. And hell, even Dick Cheney was in government for years yet suffered from cardiac problems. There are millions of people out there who are working but are sick.

Oct. 05 2013 05:15 PM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

What? No Israel reference? Aren't you off message?

Oct. 03 2013 09:44 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

@ Mr. Bad.......

LOL, I read your muck and I think "Now there's a guy who's glad that his mom got him a computer for his birthday."

Oct. 02 2013 09:08 PM
Mr. Bad from NYC

Do you want to know more? Don't believe me.

Take it from a former Senior CIGNA VP....

http://www.amazon.com/Deadly-Spin-Insurance-Corporate-Deceiving/dp/B004CJJJKC

Oct. 02 2013 05:48 PM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ RBC (admitted insurance salesman)

Looks like one of your pals broke ranks and told the truth. You gonna put a hit on this guy or what? He's really talking down your book, brah:

"There were many reasons why I left my job in the insurance industry, but near the top of the list was the expectation that I be, for all practical purposes, a snake oil salesman. If I were still in the business, I would be part of an industry-wide campaign to persuade employers, policy makers and the general public that high-deductible plans are the new silver bullet.

Not only will HDHPs reduce health care costs, according to the campaign propaganda, forcing people into them will cause them to lead healthier lifestyles.

That's the hype. And the hype is necessary to obscure the real reason insurers and employers are herding more and more of us into HDHPs: they're perfect vehicles to shift more of the cost of care from them to us."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wendell-potter/is-a-high-deductible-heal_b_2992053.html

Oct. 02 2013 03:28 PM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ RBC (admitted insurance salesman)

When you write:

"Now this is also a perfect example of how you're "privatize the profit" motto goes to the toilet. There's little to no profit here when insurance companies are now required to cover all."

What. are. you. talking. about? They don't have to cover all, they are paid by all. They only take the people at the bottom who have to pay up of take a hit. Who are these super sick people with good paying jobs and lots of spending cash? The only people who fit that description are on Medicare and retired. Most people with a serious chronic illness are not employed and their costs are born by medicaid or family members. Your arguments are so circular and pointless.

When you write:

"Overhead - or what we call "administrative costs" don't count as health care. You're wrong again."

No, you're wrong. The 80% also includes "quality improvement activity". You see, I have read the law, I'm just not a propagandist like you. This only represents a fraction of costs to insured people now but I have it on good information that this is set to triple or quadruple owing to the ease with which the legally nebulous definition of such "activity" is designed to expand now that everyone is required to carry health insurance.

I noticed you didn't respond to this:

"Finally, as an insurance industry exec told me, this bill gives Insurance company's an incentive to INCREASE costs. Why? Because when they increase payouts to providers they can increase premiums and nobody can challenge it because those are hard (not the administrative 20 of the 20/80)costs paid out to Doctor's (hence the AMA push for this bill). And if you have graduated from 5th grade math 20% of a larger number is MORE than 20% of a smaller number. That matters to exec compensation which is tied to the value of the company. Pretty simple isn't it?"

I guess there will be a lot of winking between doctors and insurance co.'s when those contracts come up again, ay shill?

Oct. 02 2013 03:12 PM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ RBC (admitted insurance salesman)

Wow. Just wow. When you don't have quality points you go for quantity eh? What a mess but you have done your part to muddy the waters and confuse rthe issue so good job on that end. I'll take a few:

When you write:

"Healthy people are subject to unexpected health costs." You are right however these are typically not costly. Chronic disease care, critical care and end of life care are where the big costs lay. Setting bones and treating "burns and rashes" as you put it. C'mon. That's a joke right? Who gets a $6000.00 MRI for a rash?

When you write:

"Also there's nothing condescending about Medicaid."

Dude, I said YOU were condescending. We all know that Medicaid is for the poors as I wrote. Also, don't patronize me about "states rights". The SCOTUS decision said that the Federal government could not FORCE states to pay for a medicaid expansion and then deny them all Medicaid if they refused to comply (NFIB v. Sebelius). They did not place any such hindrance on the Federal Gov expanding the Medicaid or even Medicare program themselves to include additional coverage for only uninsurable people and covering their premiums with fed funds alone. You think you're such a clever troll don't you? You're not. And don't toss around big terms like "unconstitutional" when you don't know what they mean. Troll.

When you write:

"The actuarial risk is insane because the insurer must cover the cost...
Not only do you need to read up on Medicaid & Disability.. you also need to understand what Statutory laws are."

Just give up. Pathetic lies. The actuarial risk to cover healthy people in their 20's and 30's? ROFL. Doesn't even merit a reply. You make it sound like this is a country of 30K instead of 350 million. We aren't all sick, crippled or terminally stupid. The insurance companies wrote this law to make the money and the IRS enforced tax penalty will compel most to pony up your profits or take the hit on April 15. That's the bottom line. BTW- It isn't name calling when you call a thing or person what they are, i.e. con artist, usurer, shill and fraud merchant. All of the above apply to your paymasters.

Oct. 02 2013 03:10 PM
RBC

(cont.)

"I've already addressed your myth about "covering more people" when you really mean providing NO SERVICES to HEALTHY PEOPLE. And so what if the insurance co's have to spend 80 cents of every dollar of the premiums? Their overhead COUNTS AS A HEALTH CARE COST! For the "Bronze Plans" it is all "overhead" that goes right to their bottom line... what CON GAME!"

Overhead - or what we call "administrative costs" don't count as health care. You're wrong again. In addition to Medicaid, Disability & Statutory issues now I'd advise you to read up on these things called Financial statements. If you look at the Financial statements of ANY health insurer, you'd see that admin costs are on a separate line for health care costs. Its always been that way and it will always be that way. Why? Because you can't allocate admin costs to any specific line of health care business. It violates the "matching" principle in GAAP accounting standards.

Most of all, here's some basic math for you. There's a bronze plan with a $30 monthly premium ($360 per year) and $500 is spent out of pocket of from the deductible. The health insurer would then set aside a reserve (which is a cost) of $500 based on that patients history. If you have revenue of $360 and costs of $500, that's a LOSS to the health insurer of $140. Where's the con game in this?????

Oct. 02 2013 01:55 PM
RBC

(cont.)

"LOL, what happens when the policy term is up? Let's say he gets clipped by a drunk driver and comes back from the hospital with a double amputee? That is a catastrophe. The Insurance co. pays for the medical bills for the first policy term, so who pays for his medical bills for the rest of his life since he can't work. How does he pay the deductible? PRIVATIZE the profit, SOCIALIZE the COST. You're the one who doesn't understand how the system works or like to PRETEND he doesnt."

If the policy term is from Jan 1 - Dec 31. If he gets into an accident on Dec 31, his insurance company will cover him for the costs of the accident in the inital hospital treatment. The insurance company will then sue the drunk driver and his auto insurance company to recoup the costs.

For the coverage starting Jan 1 of the next year, he should have already decided to stay with his plan or pick a new one as the old plan informed him well in advance of his current plan ending. The plan starting 1/1 will cover all of his expenses outside of the initial hospital visit. If he did pick a plan before the accident that starts 1/1, the plan he picked will cover those costs.
**If its the same plan as before, his $6K deductible is still intact from the previous year, so he doesn't have to incur anything more other than monthly premium. If he picks another plan, then whatever deductible amounts apply will start at the beginning.

Now this is also a perfect example of how you're "privatize the profit" motto goes to the toilet. There's little to no profit here when insurance companies are now required to cover all. The only thing insurance companies can do (and do well) is manage the costs, something that the government can't do - hence Obamacare. If these costs were covered strictly under a government program, the costs incurred would be ridiculous - there would be no accountability to patient outcomes or cost of care. These are two things that health insurers do well - and are forced to be even better at with the new law.

Oct. 02 2013 01:52 PM
RBC

"Finally, as an insurance industry exec told me, this bill gives Insurance company's an incentive to INCREASE costs. Why? Because when they increase payouts to providers they can increase premiums and nobody can challenge it because those are hard (not the administrative 20 of the 20/80)costs paid out to Doctor's (hence the AMA push for this bill). And if you have graduated from 5th grade math 20% of a larger number is MORE than 20% of a smaller number. That matters to exec compensation which is tied to the value of the company. Pretty simple isn't it?"

The health insurance companies that need to increase costs to the 80 cents were probably gouging you in the first place. With exchanges, it'll be harder to rip you off because you now have the option to go to plans where you get more for your dollar. Interestingly, the states that don't have exchanges were the ones where the greatest concentration of for profit health insurance companies existed (like New Jersey) because they don't want to compete.

"Nonsense. He can't afford the "lower costs" anyway. This is about discouraging people from going to the doctor to lower Insurance company payouts. Catastrophic coverage is called "bankruptcy", the insurance company is simply taking $ for nothing. If you are really who you say you are you know that the actuarial risk of a catastrophic medical event that doesn't result in death is practically nil. You shill."

Once the namecalling starts its obvious that your battle is lost. He can't afford the lower costs? You said earlier that his monthly premium was going to be $30 a month ($360 per year)... is that not affordable? I thought your biggest complaint was the high deductible part of the plan? Make up your mind. How does this discourage people from going to the doctor? If you're "healthy" your costs are low because you won't have many trips to the doctor. The out of pocket costs remain low. And catastrophic care is called "bankruptcy" when you aren't covered because your insurer drops you (which is now illegal under Obamacare). Once you are covered, even under a high deductible plan, the insurer MUST cover you. Its the law. The actuarial risk is insane because the insurer must cover the cost -that's why insurers have these legally mandated things called "claim reserves" - a pot of money set aside strictly for paying claims even in the absence of premium.

Not only do you need to read up on Medicaid & Disability.. you also need to understand what Statutory laws are.

Oct. 02 2013 01:50 PM
RBC

"Finally, as an insurance industry exec told me, this bill gives Insurance company's an incentive to INCREASE costs. Why? Because when they increase payouts to providers they can increase premiums and nobody can challenge it because those are hard (not the administrative 20 of the 20/80)costs paid out to Doctor's (hence the AMA push for this bill). And if you have graduated from 5th grade math 20% of a larger number is MORE than 20% of a smaller number. That matters to exec compensation which is tied to the value of the company. Pretty simple isn't it?"

The health insurance companies that need to increase costs to the 80 cents were probably gouging you in the first place. With exchanges, it'll be harder to rip you off because you now have the option to go to plans where you get more for your dollar. Interestingly, the states that don't have exchanges were the ones where the greatest concentration of for profit health insurance companies existed (like New Jersey) because they don't want to compete.

"Nonsense. He can't afford the "lower costs" anyway. This is about discouraging people from going to the doctor to lower Insurance company payouts. Catastrophic coverage is called "bankruptcy", the insurance company is simply taking $ for nothing. If you are really who you say you are you know that the actuarial risk of a catastrophic medical event that doesn't result in death is practically nil. You shill."

Once the namecalling starts its obvious that your battle is lost. He can't afford the lower costs? You said earlier that his monthly premium was going to be $30 a month ($360 per year)... is that not affordable? I thought your biggest complaint was the high deductible part of the plan? Make up your mind. How does this discourage people from going to the doctor? If you're "healthy" your costs are low because you won't have many trips to the doctor. The out of pocket costs remain low. And catastrophic care is called "bankruptcy" when you aren't covered because your insurer drops you (which is now illegal under Obamacare). Once you are covered, even under a high deductible plan, the insurer MUST cover you. Its the law. The actuarial risk is insane because the insurer must cover the cost -that's why insurers have these legally mandated things called "claim reserves" - a pot of money set aside strictly for paying claims even in the absence of premium.

Not only do you need to read up on Medicaid & Disability.. you also need to understand what Statutory laws are.

Oct. 02 2013 01:49 PM
RBC

@Mr. Bad -

I'm not an insurance salesman, I'm an accountant who understands how the law works and why it was instituted in the first place.

Let's understand something about "healthy" people. Healthy people are subject to unexpected health costs. Here's just a few examples of how perfectly healthy people drive up the cost of health care:

ACL injuries, broken limbs, sprained ankles, seperated shoulders, food poisoning, back & neck injuries, pneumonia, mono, skin cancer, acts of violence, motor vehicle injuries, mental health problems, alcohol poisoning, burns, rashes, infections of all kinds, even giving birth

These all cost money. Lots of money. And the government can't afford to be on the hook for these costs any longer - on top of all the other long term sicknesses and diseases in the population. The government can no longer afford to pay for the health costs of those who want to pay for insurance and can't because no insurance company wanted to cover them. This is why the law was passed. The risk of health costs were moved from the taxpayers to health insurers. Period.

Is any insurance plan great? No. But you pay for the plan that covers your needs best. The more services you'll need, the more you pay for. With the exchanges the consumer now has a transparent view of all the insurance plans from multiple companies. It also forced the health insurers to compete on the open market (something they never had to do).

Also there's nothing condescending about Medicaid. Medicaid, along with Medicare and all other government sponsored health plans, are administered by the private health insurance companies. The states control Medicaid.
If you paid any attention to what was going on the past year, Obamacare tried to expand Medicaid but the "red" states didn't want to and they sued in federal court. Remember the day SCOTUS upheld Obamacare? Well that same day the court also made the Medicaid expansion unconstitutional (violation of states rights). So the rules governing Medicaid stand - and in the situation that you spoke of previously, your nephew would not be eligible for Medicaid.

Oct. 02 2013 12:27 PM

Eliminate the middleman.

Single payer.

Oct. 02 2013 11:59 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ @ RBC (admitted insurance salesman)

Finally, as an insurance industry exec told me, this bill gives Insurance company's an incentive to INCREASE costs. Why? Because when they increase payouts to providers they can increase premiums and nobody can challenge it because those are hard (not the administrative 20 of the 20/80)costs paid out to Doctor's (hence the AMA push for this bill). And if you have graduated from 5th grade math 20% of a larger number is MORE than 20% of a smaller number. That matters to exec compensation which is tied to the value of the company. Pretty simple isn't it?

Oct. 02 2013 11:58 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ RBC (admitted insurance salesman)

You are a super subtle troll, I'll give you that.

You wrote:

"your nephew gets is two things by being insured: (1)catastrophic coverage and (2)access to lower costs"

Nonsense. He can't afford the "lower costs" anyway. This is about discouraging people from going to the doctor to lower Insurance company payouts. Catastrophic coverage is called "bankruptcy", the insurance company is simply taking $ for nothing. If you are really who you say you are you know that the actuarial risk of a catastrophic medical event that doesn't result in death is practically nil. You shill.

You Wrote:

"If something catastrophic happened to your nephew, his health costs over $6K would be covered by the insurance company because he would be INSURED!!!"

LOL, what happens when the policy term is up? Let's say he gets clipped by a drunk driver and comes back from the hospital with a double amputee? That is a catastrophe. The Insurance co. pays for the medical bills for the first policy term, so who pays for his medical bills for the rest of his life since he can't work. How does he pay the deductible? PRIVATIZE the profit, SOCIALIZE the COST. You're the one who doesn't understand how the system works or like to PRETEND he doesnt.

You Wrote:

"the amount of profit insurers keep is going to decrease because (1)insurers are going to have to cover more people, including those with pre-existing conditions which will increase costs and (2)the law forces insurers to spend a minimum of 80 cents on health costs for ever dollar received in premiums."

I've already addressed your myth about "covering more people" when you really mean providing NO SERVICES to HEALTHY PEOPLE. And so what if the insurance co's have to spend 80 cents of every dollar of the premiums? Their overhead COUNTS AS A HEALTH CARE COST! For the "Bronze Plans" it is all "overhead" that goes right to their bottom line... what CON GAME!

Oct. 02 2013 11:45 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ RBC (admitted insurance salesman)

You wrote:

"By putting more people into the pool, the cost risk is spread over a larger population which lower rates."

BULLSH*T. By putting more taxpayer subsidized HEALTHY people into the pool who are paying for NOTHING you can maintain viability. No healthy people paying for nothing with a tax subsidy = no viability. JUST. LIKE. I. WROTE.ALREADY. I.e.:

"Answer: You can't. The government is underwriting a failed business model with taxpayer $ and screwing the consumer in the process. Them Obamacare policies are NOT affordable and the ones that are are worthless. What a scam and the without a doubt the pitiful low point in Obama's career."

These plans are garbage. I've looked at the details, they are all high copay, high coinsurance, high deductible garbage plans. Even the "Fold Plans" have deductibles in the 1K range. Just junk. What working person has 1K laying around these days to pay medical bills?

As for your medicaid comment. It's hardly worth a reply. We all know you condescending **** that medicaid is for the poors. It could also be expanded to the uninsurable, same it true for medicare. There is no law or constitutional limitation on who those plans can cover if we pass a NEW law expanding their charter. Duh.

Oct. 02 2013 11:28 AM
RBC

@Mr. Bad -

You sound like what you are - an uninformed complainer who doesn't understand how the law works.

"So the insurance co. gets $3500.00 per annum from the taxpayer and my nephew combined and then provides ZERO service."

WRONG!! What your nephew gets is two things by being insured: (1)catastrophic coverage and (2)access to lower costs when he goes to a doctor by being part of a plan. If he goes to the doctor uninsured, he pays the full price of whatever the doctor charges. If he goes to the doctor insured, even with a high deductible, he is able to take advantage of the lower rates negotiated between the insurance companies & providers.

"If something "catastrophic" happened to my nephew his costs would not be limited to 6K. He would be laid up and out of the work force and on medicaid or disability for life leaving the insurance co. off the hook for all the long term care expenses."

WRONG AGAIN!!! If something catastrophic happened to your nephew, his health costs over $6K would be covered by the insurance company because he would be INSURED!!! He would not be eligible for Medicaid because he's already INSURED!!! Disability has nothing to do with the cost of health care. The amount of disability has to do with your ability to work & how much you've paid into the system. You have people who are not health risks, but get disability.
**Note - Please understand how Medicaid & disability works**

"But you get to keep the profit in the meantime from all those suckers who don't have a "catastrophe" befall them."

WRONG YET AGAIN!!! Here's the kicker about Obamacare, the amount of profit insurers keep is going to decrease because (1)insurers are going to have to cover more people, including those with pre-existing conditions which will increase costs and (2)the law forces insurers to spend a minimum of 80 cents on health costs for ever dollar received in premiums. If an insurance company is spending less in costs per dollar in revenue, they will be forced to reduce their rates - which is EXACTLY what's happening.

Oct. 02 2013 11:24 AM
DMM from New York

I agree with the caller's comments. I want to review the plans before registering. I don't want to give my information I just want to shop a little first.

I am also pretty confused about the options. I purchase my own insurance and have a very low income - less than the poverty level but I don't want medicaid. I am willing to use some of my small savings for my coverage - i don't think I should have to tell the insurance company my income -
I simply want to purchase the cheapest plan that my current doctors take.
What are my options?

The fact that the information is not open is troubling.
It seems like if I input my income - the system will not even allow me to purchase insurance.
How does someone simply compare plans and purchase what they choose?

Oct. 02 2013 11:21 AM

Is "Obamacare" convoluted?? Yes.

Is "Obamacare" a windfall for the corrupt in$urance industry?? Yes.

Is it a pathetic half step?? Yes.

Does it, as Mr. Bad notes, "PRIVATIZE the PROFIT, SOCIALIZE the COSTS"?? Yes.

Is it a step in the right direction? I'm hoping so.

I am heartened by the historical: Social Security, Medicaid/care started with HEAVY opposition and as half measures. Over time these programs were refined and improved. Hopefully the same will become of this so-called "Obamacare".

The office of the President of the United States is NOT a GOD throne.

We unfortunately, are governed by a system run solely on corporate profit. If this is the first step of a continuing process, then I feel like we're headed in the right direction.

Oct. 02 2013 11:14 AM
RBC

"How can you perpetuate an insurance company business model based on managing risk and lowering costs to ensure profitability and then TAKE AWAY the insurance co.'s ability to manage risk and lower costs by forcing them to insure anyone with a pulse?

Answer: You can't...."

Real Answer: You can. How? Again, before Obamacare, the health insurers have set up programs to try to minimize costs for the customers who are the biggest risks - things like health coaches and wellness programs. The problem is that rates were still going up at sky high rates because the number of customer growth stagnated. You can find but so many people that are able to sign up for $800 per month insurance plans. By putting more people into the pool, the cost risk is spread over a larger population which lower rates.

The reason why there wasn't a targed Medicaid program for the uninsurable was because most of the uninsurable don't qualify for Medicaid. Medicaid is a program to cover the poor; the majority of people who are uninsurable and uninsured aren't poor.

Oct. 02 2013 11:04 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ RBC

You sound just like what you are, an insurance salesman. So the insurance co. gets $3500.00 per annum from the taxpayer and my nephew combined and then provides ZERO service. How lovely for you! If something "catastrophic" happened to my nephew his costs would not be limited to 6K. He would be laid up and out of the work force and on medicaid or disability for life leaving the insurance co. off the hook for all the long term care expenses. But you get to keep the profit in the meantime from all those suckers who don't have a "catastrophe" befall them.

PRIVATIZE the PROFIT, SOCIALIZE the COSTS! Great job!

Oct. 02 2013 10:55 AM
Robert from NYC

Sorry ma'am, in the United States health care is not a human right, it's a big business and like everything else in the USA you need money. lots of money, to get good health care. This is not a caring country contrary to what we tell ourselves. As we stand in the middle of the decline and fall of the USA let's continue to lie to ourselves to it happens quickly enough to get to something better... we hope.

Oct. 02 2013 10:50 AM

In that very FREIGHTING commie state just to the north of us, one simply presents a card at the point of healthcare service. ZERO paperwork ZERO website nonsense.

The Canadians get BETTER healthcare at approximately HALF the cost.

SINGLE PAYER is the ONLY intelligent solution.

Oct. 02 2013 10:50 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ Tom from UWS

LOL, freedom to move from "no job" to "no job" and carry your health insurance costs with you. Brilliant!

Oct. 02 2013 10:47 AM
Dee from Bloomfield

I went on the website for NJ yesterday. It's still very expensive. 2 years ago I lost my job and my insurance after paying in for almost 30 years. I had only used it for wellness visits and so I took a chance, because I could not afford the $1200 COBRA payment. Then I broke my leg and because I owned a house, did not qualify for any program. I am now in foreclosure and filing for bankruptcy. I am fortunate, I can return to Canada where full healthcare for myself is $66.00 per month. The system there is efficient and works, despite what you have heard.

Oct. 02 2013 10:47 AM
RBC

@Mr. Bad - I work in health insurance. That plan your nephew could afford was the plan he would've gotten before Obamacare. That "bronze" plan is what is called a "consumer driven health plan".

The reason why your nephew should still sign up for the plan is this: if something catastrophic happened to your nephew when his costs would be limited to the $6K. The rest of the costs will be covered by the health insurer. If he had no insurance, he would have to foot the full bill - and if he couldn't then the taxpayers would have to eventually foot the bill. Thats the purpose of "Obamacare" - to privatize health costs.

Oct. 02 2013 10:47 AM
Carolita from NYC

Any possibility that GOP hacks are causing the server problems on the online exchanges out of pure mischief?

Oct. 02 2013 10:46 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

Listening to Obama in the Rose Garden I hear just how idiotic the "Health Insurance Model" is. Nobody wants to "get covered", they want "health care".

How can you perpetuate an insurance company business model based on managing risk and lowering costs to ensure profitability and then TAKE AWAY the insurance co.'s ability to manage risk and lower costs by forcing them to insure anyone with a pulse?

Answer: You can't. The government is underwriting a failed business model with taxpayer $ and screwing the consumer in the process. Them Obamacare policies are NOT affordable and the ones that are are worthless. What a scam and the without a doubt the pitiful low point in Obama's career.

It's great that very sick people are being covered but we could have had that with a targeted Medicaid program for the uninsurable. So why didn't we?

Oct. 02 2013 10:44 AM
Tom from UWS

Brian's point about "freedom to move" in employment is a key one. I believe countless jobs would open up if more people could get insurance (and afford it) away from employer-provided care. My 70-yr old brother-in-law, for instance, would retire if he didn't need the insurance for my sister, who is too young for Medicare, but as a recovering cancer patient has had few opportunities for insurance available. The ACA changes the whole picture for them. If my brother -in-law retires, what happens: a job is available for someone else, possibly a younger worker.
We need to factor in the possibility that employment prospects for the young will improve with the freedom many people will now have to leave the work force entirely, or to start their own ventures.

Oct. 02 2013 10:43 AM

Focusing on the negative ALWAYS moves things forward.

Pathetic.

Oct. 02 2013 10:43 AM

Taking my cue from broken record Ed from Larchmont...

I don't mind writing it again:

Imagine a liquid workforce!!

Imagine a world were people were actually FREE to NOT be held hostage at unfulfilling jobs because they need to maintain health in$urance for their family.

Imagine being free of the corrupt work/healthcare connection paradigm!!

How many new businesses would be created??? How may new hires??

Businesses with fewer than 20 employees account for 90 percent of all U.S. firms and are responsible for more than 97 percent of all new jobs, according to a new report by the Small Business Administration. ~ Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy

How many dreams fulfilled??

STOP THE KORPORATE® TYRANNY!!

Oct. 02 2013 10:40 AM
Scott

Now that we are two days into the program, I am curious to know how over budget the program is currently operating at?

Oct. 02 2013 10:40 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

My nephew shopped for insurance in CT. He makes $10 an hour, 22, doesn't really need health insurance. He found a "Bronze" plan for $30 per month which is what he can afford with a $200 tax benefit (straight from Uncle Sam to Insurance Co.) and a $6000.00 deductible i.e. he gets NO benefits AT ALL until he spends 6K of his own $ up front. He has never had more than $300 in his checking acct after paying his monthly bills. Worthless insurance company handout. Thanks Obama!

Oct. 02 2013 10:28 AM
Jim

American exceptionalism on full display. Here is a summary of my 8 hours trying to get insurance for my wife:

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We apologize for the inconvenience, the Marketplace is undergoing maintenance. Please try again later.

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Page Expired
To protect privacy and enhance security, the page you are trying to access is no longer available.

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Oct. 02 2013 09:35 AM

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