Insurance For Pre-Existing Conditions Expensive Under ObamaCare

Who would have thought it?

It’s a centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s health care remake, a lifeline available right now to vulnerable people whose medical problems have made them uninsurable.

But the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan started this summer isn’t living up to expectations. Enrollment lags in many parts of the country. People who could benefit may not be able to afford the premiums. Some state officials who run their own “high-risk pools” have pointed out potential problems.

“The federal risk pool has definitely provided critical access, in some cases lifesaving access, to health insurance,” said Amie Goldman, chair of a national association of state high-risk insurance pools. “That said, enrollment so far is lower than we would have expected.” Goldman runs the Wisconsin state pool, as well as the federal plan in her state.

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Providing access is easy. Costs, on the other hand

Premiums may be out of reach. In many states, people in their 40s and 50s face monthly premiums ranging from $400 to $600 and higher. “I think there’s some sticker shock going on,” said Sabrina Corlette, a Georgetown University research professor. “People who may be eligible are finding out that even if they can get the insurance, the price is too high.” Pennsylvania, which set a premium of $283 for all ages, has had no problem getting applicants.

One of the problems is that the number of people enrolling in the plans is much lower than expected. Seemingly because the plans are, in fact expensive, even with the $5 billion ObamaCare pours into the coverage. A second problem is that the requirements to be able to enroll are difficult. Furthermore

In states where the federal government runs the program directly, the insurance plan doesn’t provide coverage for prescription drugs until people have met a $2,500 annual deductible.

This is what happens when people who are not professionals create a massive, unwieldy law that they haven’t even read. The law of unintended consequences. Surely, much of the outsourced ObamaCare was created exactly to damage the private insurance industry, allowing Democrats to say “see? Evil” and increase their involvement in the health insurance industry. Consider

The first baby steps of the nation’s health care overhaul have taken effect. That means most insurance plans will change, at least slightly, when renewed.

Workers for years have been able to set aside tax-free dollars into an account that could be used within the year to pay for everything from insurance deductibles and eye surgery to Advil and allergy pills. But starting in 2011, the accounts will no longer pay for over-the-counter medicines unless a doctor writes a prescription for it. And by 2013, contributions to the accounts will be limited to $2,500.

The federally mandated changes to health savings accounts can cause big problems. Consider that employees who have family plans often have a deductible of $2,100 to $2,500 for an HSA. HSAs usually allow the money to roll over from year to year, and people keep putting money into the accounts, building them over time. That will end.

The new requirements prescribed by the health care law won’t come without a price. The law’s provisions will add a bump of 1 percent to 2 percent to the cost of insurance coverage for most large employers, according to Hewitt Associates, a consulting firm that is a respected source on employee benefit costs.

If the provisions add 1 to 2 percent for large companies, Lord knows what it will do to small businesses and individuals. Then we get to the McDonald’s scenario, where companies have large numbers of employees, many part time, and turn over quickly

Health insurance costs may rise as much as 500 percent for restaurants with more than 50 employees if all employees participate in a company-sponsored plan, said Todd Gordon, president of insurance broker The Benefits Group Inc.

The health care costs for franchises may rise from 1 percent of each store’s revenue to as much as 5 percent if they hire a significant number of full-time employees, said Jordan Krolick, president of restaurant consulting firm Tound & Drowth LLC.

So, what do they do? They limit the number of employees they have to avoid the government penalties, and dump their insurance offerings, which also increases unemployment, unless HHS provides a waiver. If they are smart, they will. If the law allows it.

But, of course, these companies are all evil for actually wanting to make a profit. I challenge all liberal owners of business to stop making profits, putting every cent into paying higher wages and awesome health insurance. Basically, turn your company, the one you use to feed and water your family, the one that allows you to live well, take vacations, and plan for retirement, into a non-profit. Stop going out to eat, stop taking vacations, and stop living well. Live the life you say every other company should live.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach. Re-Change 2010!

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