Month: November 2010

Effects of Healthcare Reform

So today we got introduced to our new health care benefits.

Prime among the new features:

1) There is no longer a lifetime maximum benefit. It used to be $5,000,000 but now it’s unlimited.

2) Your dependent children are covered to age 26!

3) You can no longer be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition.

4) We now can register our domestic partners on our healthcare plan.

5) Our life insurance benefit rises from $100,000 to $200,000.

That last one is part of the health plan since Aetna is a one stop shop.

Yet we pay the same premiums we’d paid for a couple years. I’d say that is an improvement.

I adopted for a consumer driven plan. The company will chip $1,300 in and my total premium is $22 per pay period. I plan on starting a Healthcare Savings Account (HSA) and chipping in $125. All total at $147 it’s cheaper than the 80/20 plan I’m on now.

So basically per month it comes out to $294 a month for two people. Not too shabby.

Oh and the deductible while high, can be covered with funds from the HSA so in essence, the company contributes $1,300 every year, and I’ll be chipping in $3,250. So here’s the breakdown:

Year 1: $4,550
Year 2: $9,100
Year 3: $13,650
Year 4: $18,200
Year 5: $22,750

The deductible is $4000 but that’s for diagnostic tests and things of that nature. Checkups and basic healthcare are 100%, no copay.

And the nice thing about HSA is even if I leave the job, I still have $20,750 (assuming I use none of the money in the HSA) to use for health coverage until I exhaust it.

So I’d say these are all positive effects of healthcare reform.

Some musings on healthcare

So today we were told they’re switching our health care to yet another company. The benefits are pretty much the same and there are expansions of life insurance (From $100,000 to $200,000) and now for domestic partners (It goes from $25K to $50K).

All well and good but there has been enormous churn in insurance providers in corporate America and in government. They move from Blue Cross, to United, then to Aetna, then to some obscure thing and before long all the employees complain and they go back to Blue Cross.

But a co-worker and I got into a discussion about socialized medicine like that in Canada, the UK, France, Germany, China, Japan and many other countries.

He objected to Medicare and I said “Because of the level of fraud?” and that was his complaint. But we then stumbled on two things. One was a cash-cow that would detect Medicare fraud auto-magically and then send the interesting stuff onto the investigators for human intervention. By mentioning it here I lay claim to copyright.

But my co-worker said something else interesting, that we would never see socialized medicine in this country because of the insurance and pharmaceutical industries.

But I made the observation that in most big business, the employer pays a portion of the health care premium hovering into the 80% mark. Suppose we grouped those businesses together and had them lobby congress to get truly universal coverage in the United States?

It’s the only way we’re ever going to see it, if the stockholders and investors in those companies see that health care costs are eventually going to bankrupt them and let them lobby to make the change, essentially doing our work for us.

Wouldn’t that be something to see? Corporations actually doing the right thing even if it does benefit the bottom line?