Millions to Lose Health Coverage

Washington rule-making in ObamaCare leaves families without coverage.

Health insurance companies across America are being forced out of business by edicts of ObamaCare, leaving millions of families without protection.

Remember Obama’s fulsome promise: “If you like your health care plan you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what!” This was Obama’s sacred pledge before ObamaCare was jammed through Congress in what was likely the most audacious and costly action of his deceptive Presidency.

He gave his word to the American people, as recounted in a December paper by Grace-Marie Turner, President of the Galen Institute, on the radical restructuring of our nation’s health system.

The Galen Institute is a health research organization.

A survey of 1,300 employers put the white House in a state of “apoplexy” when it was published last June because the detailed survey showed so many companies planned to drop health insurance if key portions of ObamaCare take effect in 2014.

The White House tried to discredit the survey results, which found that more than 50 percent of those in companies aware of the law will stop offering health insurance. That could mean as many as 78 million workers and their families would no longer get insurance they now get at work. The survey indicated that, if driven into government subsidized insurance (state health exchanges), it could pile $1 trillion more dollars onto the cost of ObamaCare.

The losses in coverage have begun already. Many are losing protection because insurers are dropping out of markets in some states. Some carriers are leaving because of the burdensome rules. In Indiana, 10 percent of the health insurance firms have pulled out of the market because they are “unable to comply with the federal medical loss requirement (MLR),” writes Turner.

The medical loss ratio is an overly large percentage of an insurance premium that’s dictated by the government, which an insurance company has to spend on services to the insured, often leaving little for administrative costs and profit.

“Indiana was hoping to bring the companies back by asking the Department of Health and Human Services (HEW) for a waiver from the rule; but Washington refused in late November to grant the waiver.

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels responded: “Once again the Obama Administration took a position in favor of higher health care costs and against personal freedom.” The MLR regulation is especially hard to meet for Health Savings Accounts, which offer high-deductible coverage. Indiana has a “high percentage of these popular, cost-saving plans,” Turned points out.

The Principal Financial Group, headquartered in Iowa, announced it would cease to sell health insurance. This affects 840,000 people who get their insurance through employers served by the company.

Another 42,000 employees of small and median-size companies found out in January they would lose their health coverage with Guardian Life Insurance Company. Cigna said in its annual report it is no longer offering insurance coverage to small businesses in 16 states.

The American Enterprise Group in October announced it will stop non-group health insurance in 20 states. This means 35,000 people will lose their coverage. The company also notified 110 employees in Iowa nd Nebraska they would lose their jobs as well. It blamed “instability” caused by the health care law.

Some 1,200 companies and 5,200 employees and dependents will be at a loss when Aetna in Colorado moves clients off its plans this year. Aetna also has “dropped out of the small-group market in Michigan and several other states,” Turner reports.

Humana and Unicare reportedly are cutting back or ending business because of restrictions in the health law.

One of the provisions of the health overhaul that its supporters brag about is the silly requirement that employees can add their 26-year-old “children” to their policies. This makes it doubly ridiculous that another policy is causing huge losses of coverage among actual children whose parents were buying health insurance policies for them on their own.

Then HEW Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told insurers they must write policies for kids under 19, including youngsters with preexisting conditions. This made parents wait until their children developed a serious medical condition. “Rather than wait for this to happen, many carriers decided to leave the market altogether,” wrote Turner.

The Administration promised that employers offering coverage would be “grandfathered” in and could avoid many of the rules of he law, But the regulations the Administration developed “were so onerous that few companies will be able to comply,” she explained.

The Obama Administration expects that by 2013 most of the 133 million people with coverage through their large employers and up to 80 percent of the 43 million people in small employee plans “will lose their grandfathered protection,” according to Turner.

Beginning his year, “insurance plans must provide rebates to plan enrollees if they can’t meet the standards of the medical loss ratio rule.” Many companies will lose many million of dollars under MLR.

ObamaCare spending cuts also threaten Medicare Advantage. More than one-fourth of seniors have enrolled in private health plans through Medicare Advantage. (But Secretary Sebelius hates the idea of private sector involvement or competition). The law mandates that $136 billion be stripped from Medicare Advantage over this decade to help pay for new health care subsidies. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated Medicare Advantage cut would be $136 billion between 2010 and 2019.

The know-it-all smarts that guides the menagerie of regulations for ObamaCare will “continue to cause a cascade of lost coverage because it is ignoring market forces in favor of Washington rule-making,” Turner concludes.

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