Professional health insurance agents have a front row seat to the carnage that ObamaCare is creating as it rolls out on top of Americans. We are the referees on the field. Over the next year, as our small business clients receive their 2014 cancellation notices, which every single one of them will, the pain inflicted is going to be hard to watch and a constant moving target to overcome. Nonetheless, we will fight to continue to deliver a winning result.
I’ve always thought of my “game” as another way of casually addressing my profession, a profession that I take very seriously. I have worked very hard for over 30 years to ensure the financial health and access to health care for all of my clients. There is an army of agents in this country who have remained very involved in health care legislation over the years to protect our clients from what is happening now. Because of this ongoing commitment to be involved on a daily basis, we also know this law better than anyone. No professional agent has been surprised by anything that has unfolded in the past 2 years as issues come to light. The complete and total destruction of access to affordable health care is in process. Continued financial health is being ripped from the hands of all of my clients.
As the dismantling continues and public outcry ensures, the administration makes minor gestures to settle the roar to a rumble. Moves to extend coverage on non-grandfathered plans, delaying the penalties of the employer mandate and blaming the chaos on the computer system are nothing more than distractions.
I truly believe that President Obama, his administration and their followers think this is a real “game” in the true sense of the word. Their primary goal is not to expand coverage to the masses or reduce the cost of health insurance. If it were, they would hang their heads in shame, not to be seen in public for years. Their goal is to win. They are out banging their chests in victory because they are winning the game.
Where there are winners, there are losers. Insurance agents see the effect of the bullying that has been perpetrated on the losing public every day. The scene plays out over and over with every phone call and every visit. An insured comes in because their plan has been cancelled and they need to replace it with an “ObamaCare approved metallic plan”. In most instances, the new market presents a plan of options that include twice the premium, twice the out-of-pocket risk and an overall reduction in benefits.
Consumers who have long become accustomed to dozens of choices in health care options, are shocked to find only 4 basic choices in this new world. It is truly heartbreaking as I watch the client walk in and go through the phases of denial. Their shock and anger are quickly turned into acceptance as I pat their hand and assure them that I am showing them all of their choices. There is no longer anywhere to go for reasonable options. At least we are around to show them the entire market. (Exchanges only show you exchange plans)
When I get to the point in the conversation where I have to tell them that more than half of the top rated physician and hospital groups are no longer included within their plan, they shrug their shoulders in complete and total surrender. They complete the application process and move on with their day. The problems they are about to face as they enter the exchange or overloaded insurer online systems is not their biggest problem. The technical problems are just convenient cover for the myriad of real problems. Their real problem is that they are living in a country that is retreating and accepting the beating that has been unleashed on them. This isn’t only redistribution of wealth; it’s retaliation on the successful middle class.
As I move around my business circles, I am amazed by how many people think this is all just going to go away and be fixed. American’s who think people are going to stand up and fight this national plague need to think again. No one is fighting this! Every single person that goes through process this gives up. They have no choice but to accept the increases in premium, thousands of dollars more in out-of-pockets costs and in most of my cases, a complete loss of access to the care that they and their children deserve.
If you are in the “sit back and do nothing while it implodes” crowd, you are in the same surrender mode. Have you considered what an implosion looks like? You need only to understand that many of the winners will lose their jobs, face a reduction in hours or be forced in and out of MediCaid as the Exchanges find their sweet spot. Thousands will find themselves on a medical access seesaw. At that point, we will all be on the losing team.
Has anyone stopped to consider what the effect of this complete surrender to a government imposed hardship is going to do to the working class people in this country? My clients are the majority. These are not people asking for handouts from the Exchanges or MediCaid. These are the people who make those programs solvent. They are too busy working to fight.
This President and his followers are nothing more than schoolyard bullies, dancing in the end-zone as the rest cower en masse. They got their win and they don’t care about the pain they are inflicting on the multitudes or the type of transformation of America they are causing.
Mr. President. Congratulations on your win. What are you going to do next?
1 Comment | tags: agent, bullies, california, cancellations, CoveredCA, deductibles, Exchange, financial health, group insurance, Health Care Access, health insurance, health insurance agent, increase, individual, legislation, MediCaid Expansion, Obama, obamacare, out of pocket, premiums, rate increase, small employers, subsidy, Temecula | posted in Covered Ca, Exchange, Health Care, Health Care Reform, PPACA
No one seems to want to talk about it. But it is almost here and you will be affected by it. It is time to seriously start paying attention.
For Everyone: There are reports from all directions that confirm what I keep saying: Health Reform isn’t going away. Many states are just waiting to enact Plan B. Just this week Peter Lee, the Executive Director of the California Exchanges said: “The shape and speed and nature of that effort may change a little. We need to see, how do we adjust course after that decision.” As a matter of fact, there is talk around Sacramento that the State just might go ahead and write their own individual mandate. And why not? Massachusetts did it and there isn’t any law on the books in California stopping them. If the entire Federal Law gets thrown out in the severability issue, employers better not take a deep breath. California would be the one State you could bet on to go after the employers. After all, someone needs to fill up these insured pools with money so the claims can get paid.
For all Employers: Employers who continue to ignore the reality of the situation are going to be unpleasantly surprised. Even if the Individual Mandate is struck down by SCOTUS, the Employer Mandate will remain. Large employers will have to make some decisions. They may be inclined to pay to the $2,000/$3,000 fine per employee to un or underinsure, but they should be considering the entire picture when making those decisions. Even small employers will be affected. They are going to be inundated with employees looking for answers. Who else are they going to ask? Small employers not subject to the employer mandate will be analyzing which way to go with their benefits in the future. They aren’t just going to lose all of their employees to the competition without some consideration.
Between the employees and HR, employers better have a benefit agent with some knowledge and history of being on top of benefit legislation knowledge. Determining how to keep employees while rationally taking advantage of the individual and group subsidies will take some finessing. Avoiding regulatory hurdles from the IRS, HHS, DOL and the new slew of agencies is going to be fun for all.
For the Average Consumer: If the Individual Mandate fades away, rates are going to rise. And they are going to rise like there is no tomorrow. Does this sound like it’s going to end well? When all is said and done PPACA is going to be the death knell of the current system. A death that was premeditated by the U.S. Congress over time. Forbes did a great article on the incidents leading up to the end desired result. For the good of my profession and general public, I really hope the professional insurance agent survives in a manner in which they can remain in business. I think the need for assistance is going to increase exponentially.
For Insurance Professionals: Insurance agents making a living sells on rates and not taking this profession seriously are going to be in a world of hurt. You can wish all you want, the California Exchange isn’t going away. And remember, for an individual to get a subsidy, they have to purchase their insurance from the Exchange (If and how you can sell it remains to be set in stone). Mr. Lee went on to say, “It’s misleading and not productive to just look at all of the ‘what-ifs,'” Lee said. “California will address the needs of Californians. And that includes the exchange.” There is one “what-if” we don’t hear them talking about. “What-If” national leadership changes and the Federal Funding to the States goes away.
Now, anyone with any institutional knowledge knows how well the State can compete with the private market in the absence of Federal Funding. Mr. Lee can hope all he wants, unless they get the Federal Funding to support the premium subsidies…….well, game on.
Paula Wilson, RHU, REBC, Southern California Insurance Agent and Benefits Consultant
Leave a comment | tags: 2012, agent, california, california exchange, Employee Benefits, employers, forbes, health care, Health Care Reform, increase, Insurance Agent, insurance agent Temecula, mandate, obamacare, peter lee, PPACA, premium, reform, scotus, updates | posted in Health Care, Health Care Reform, PPACA, Uncategorized
January 1, 2013. Today President Obama signed a bill that will entitle all Americans to free steak. The OMB estimates the cost at $100 Billion over the next ten years.
June 1, 2013. Today the OMB revised the estimate on the steaks to $230 Billion. Previous estimates didn’t assume that people who previously couldn’t afford steak, would give it a try. President Romney decided to tackle this projected deficit because he had already learned the lesson while Governor.
November 1, 2013, Today the OMB revised the estimate on the steaks to $310 Billion. Previous revisions did not predict that people would like the steak and increase their consumption of the steak.
January 1, 2014. Today the OMB revised the estimate on the steaks to $370 Billion. Damn vegetarians couldn’t stay on the wagon.
January 1, 2016. Today the House passed a bill that rations steaks only to people that have grown or still have ALL of their own teeth. One steak per person will be allowed each six months. A queue will form for people who feel they must have steak and would like to appeal.
Ex-professional butchers, who had changed occupations when the government mandated a 90% reduction in their salaries, will volunteer to sit on the committee to review these appeals.
Today’s Headline: March 2, 2012. White House increases estimate of the cost of ObamaCare by 30% or $111 Billion. Earlier projections may not have accounted properly for the number of people who would shift from private market to the government subsidized private market plans.
1 Comment | tags: cost estimate, increase, obamacare, rationing | posted in Health Care