Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Repeal, catastrophize, permit, universalize

As I said in my previous post, I recently received a letter from my health insurance company, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. That letter informed me that due to the Affordable Care Act, the insurance plan I currently purchase cannot be renewed in 2014. I saw no reason to complain to Horizon about this - there’s nothing my insurance company can do - but I did write to my United States Congressmen: Senator Robert Menendez (D); Senator Jeff Chiesa (R); and Representative Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D). Here’s the email I sent each of them:

I purchase health insurance, as an individual, from Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield. Today I received a letter from Horizon informing me that due to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, my current insurance plan cannot be renewed on my anniversary date in 2014. Obviously, President Obama "misspoke" when he promised me that if I liked my health care plan I would be able to keep it.

Ideally, I would like the ACA repealed: there are too many surprises and it fails to achieve its objectives. However, if the ACA is not repealed, I urge you to do three things.

First, modify the ACA so that anyone who wants to can purchase a catastrophic health insurance plan; this will help make health insurance truly affordable. Given that health insurance costs vary by State but ACA subsidies do not, this would be very helpful to those of us in the extremely expensive State of New Jersey.

Second, modify the ACA to permit me and everyone else to keep the insurance plan we have. If the ACA plans turn out to be superior and worth the price, people will migrate to them on their own, without being forced to do so.

Third, if you're going to leave the ACA in place, please pass legislation prohibiting the Executive branch from issuing waivers, delaying the employer mandate, giving Congress a special deal, and so on. If the law is a good idea for some it is a good idea for all.

I would really, really like a law that says the exchanges must include an offer of catastrophic health insurance, preferably with a choice of deductibles, ideally with the ability to choose a policy with a deductible of $1000, $2000, $3000, and so on. I’d pick one with a deductible of at least $10,000. This would let those of us who want to buy actual health insurance rather than ”a spectacularly inefficient prepayment plan” do so. And it should be much cheaper than policies which cover routine expenses I could easily pay for myself.

1 comment:

E Hines said...

It would be best if the health services industry and the health insurance industry were competitive industries, instead of captives of, pre-Obamcare, 50 different jurisdictions, each with its own mandates for what "coverage" must be provided and what premiums (or premium range) would be permitted, or currently with Obamacare's similar mandates overlain.

It also would help if the insurance industry were permitted to charge actual risk-based premiums.

It also would help if there were no strictures on HSAs--no limits on who's allowed to have them, no limits on annual contributions to them.

Of course, under my tax plan (essentially a flat 10% tax on income from all sources for individuals; no income tax for business; no deductions, credits, exemptions, or what-have-you (maybe an exemption of half the then-year Federal Poverty Guideline)), that last would become largely moot. It's also a pipe dream in the current world.

Eric Hines