Sunday, September 30, 2012

Unable to Keep Current Health Care Plan

 "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan." ~ President Obama, August 11, 2009 town hall meeting in New Hampshire.

Effective January 1, 2013, Sears and Darden employees  will no longer be able to keep their health care plan.  Both Sears and Darden will move their employees away from employer provided health plans and provide fixed amount contributions which employees can use on insurance exchanges.  Over time, the increased costs of health care insurance will be borne more by the employee.

Some interesting observations I had were:
  1. Commenters were calling this the Romney-Ryan voucher plan instead of acknowledging companies were making changes in anticipation of the implementation of Obamacare on January 1, 2014.  It's beyond me how people can blame Romney for events happening under President Obama's signature health care plan :-)
  2. When I was in my twenties, I rarely used medical services.   In that situation,  I would take the company contribution, pay a fine for not having insurance and then keep the difference.  Since there is no restriction for pre-existing conditions, I could start my insurance when I definitely needed it.   To me, the availability of this option would contradict one of the basis premises that insuring healthy individuals would reduce health care costs.
Nevertheless, my main point is that the outcome was misrepresented by President Obama when trying to dispel concerns with Obamacare.  As has often turned out to be the case, what President Obama promises and what happens are very, very different.  (I guess that's why most of the Obama's signature legislation is implemented after his first term. :-)

I wouldn't be surprised if more companies more towards a plan similar to Sears and Darden.   I'm sure my company is considering such options, even for retirees such as me.  Soon, I expect that my health care insurance costs will go up, and benefits will go down, despite President Obama promising otherwise.

For more on  New Realities, check back every Monday for a new segment.

This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

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