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Posts Tagged ‘Obamacare’

01
Feb

IRS: Family Health Plan Cost $20K in 2016!

Written by dreilly. Posted in Blog, health care reform, PPACA, premium costs

A recently released IRS final regulation makes an assumption that the average cost for a family health insurance plan in 2016 under ObamaCare will be $20,000.  And that’s for the lowest plan benefit!   

Beginning in 2014, the individual mandate, upheld by the Supreme Court last summer, requires U.S. citizens to either carry qualified health coverage or pay a tax.  Qualified plans are established as metal options, with a bronze design offering the lowest benefit availability and platinum offering the highest.  Silver and gold fall incrementally in between. 

In an effort to help educate consumers about the potential for tax penalty under the law the regulation provides several situational examples.   Making the assumption “The annual national average bronze plan premium for a family of 5 is $20,000,” IRS goes on to explain how that same family of five (2 adults, 3 children) with household income of $120,000 would face an annual tax penalty of $2,400.  

For the uninsured, a new $20,000 health plan or a $2,400 tax….what’s a family to do? 

For those of us who are insured….The Kaiser Family Foundation showed family premiums topped $15,000 a year in 2011.  IRS now projects $5,000 more, or 25%, by 2016.  So what happened to the ObamaCare promise of  “a health care plan that would save the average family$2,500 on their premiums?”

10
Apr

What is Your Opinion of ObamaCare?

Written by dreilly. Posted in Blog, health care reform, PPACA

Since it’s passage on march 23, 2010, public opinion about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) has remained deeply divided.  For two years now we’ve been treated to an endless supply of polls that demonstrate the philosophical differences amoung Democrats and Republicans.   It’s been great fodder for campaign commercials and weekend news shows.  But what do the party polls really tell us – that Democrats and Republicans disagree?  We should all be surprised! 

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation recently released an interesting tracking tool that looks at public opinion of PPACA in a more detailed, more interesting, way.  This tracker looks at opinions and how they may or may not have changed for of a variety of groups since President Obama signed the legislation.  The data demonstrates differences among party affiliation, but more importantly, it also demonstrates the differences among groups based upon age, gender, income, and even insurance status.  While these results may not be so surprising either, the data certainly paints a better picture of how deeply divided the country remains over ObamaCare.  

It’s an interesting tool.  Check it out.    Click here.

06
Jan

Healthcare Rationing with Obamacare?

Written by dreilly. Posted in Blog, health care reform, PPACA

It depends upon the way you look at it.

A little known provision included in the healthcare law includes a new tax for health insurers.  Beginning in 2012, insurers will be required to pay $1 per member as a means to finance comparative effective research.  This fee rises to $2 in 2013.

The goal of comparative effectiveness research is to determine which procedures and approaches to health management achieve the most successful and cost effective results.  Does medicine A produce better results than medicine B?  Does one procedure outperform another procedure?  Do differences exist by geographic region?  By population segment?    By medical school?  By insurance company?

These are all of course good questions that should be answered, and a tax of dollar or two doesn’t sound so bad to pay for the research.  Understanding which medications and procedures produce the best and most cost effective results would provide enormous help in controlling health costs.

Now to be sure private industry already conducts comparative research.  But a general distrust of insurance companies and the inevitable pushback from plan participants (and from politicians) of any suggestion to change or limit choice diminishes the potential investment.  It’s driven by profit margin, many say.

Now Obamacare charges the duty to the federal government.  Makes sense.  After all, federal officials don’t make decisions based upon profit margins, right?  They have no interest in steering patients to specific hospitals or to replace higher cost medications with lower cost alternatives, do they?  They wouldn’t limit choice or procedures based upon cost, would they?

Comparative effectiveness is important.  It’s necessary.  And it’s integral to the survival of the U.S. healthcare system.  Insurance companies have pursued their own research for years.  Now the federal government will lead the way.  The question is this.  What will the government do with the research?

 

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