Large employers are expecting next year’s health costs increase more than they did this year, with ObamaCare’s new regulations taking much of the blame. “While there was uncertainty about the regulations determining grandfathered plan status, the majority of employers (53%) were still planning to make changes to their plan designs. To comply with the law, employers are having to remove lifetime dollar limits on overall benefits (70%), make changes to annual limits on specific benefits (40%), remove annual dollar limits on overall benefits (26%), and remove pre-existing conditions exclusion clauses for dependent children under age 19 (13%). Employers are still evaluating retiree health offerings as a result of new provisions related to taxation of retiree drug subsidies as well as changes in Medicare Advantage plans.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce formally objected to the recently published regulations to implement ObamaCare’s provision to “grandfather” existing insurance plans. The regulations are very strict, and would likely grant exemption to only a small number of current plans. Complying with ObamaCare’s regulations will lead to higher insurance costs for companies, or lead those companies to drop coverage altogether.
ObamaCare’s promises to lower costs are not working, according to a new study from the National Business Group on Health. Businesses are increasing or considering increasing cost-sharing , dropping retiree drug coverage to stave off rising health insurance costs in 2011.
“Employers and consumers sorting through their health insurance options may see a bump in their rates next year to account for the potential impact of some of the early elements of the federal health overhaul law, according to some health experts. Jeff Sher, an independent health insurance agent and consultant in San Francisco, said he’s anticipating employee coverage at mid-size companies to go up 13 percent to 15 percent. ‘Then we’re supposed to tack on several percentage points for health reform,’ he said.”
“We find that the reform’s mandate will raise overall costs, and that the structure of the mandate and tax credit will raise effective marginal tax rates on small business growth and expansions. In addition, the burdensome and intrusive 1099 reporting requirements will burden firms, alter the customer relationships in the small business market, and impose potential strains on employee relations in the small business sector.”
Seeing rising health costs on the horizon, employers are scaling back their insurance plans to put more costs on the consumer. This is despite pledges from the White House that families will see their premiums decrease without any quality reduction because of ObamaCare. “That could come as a surprise to many who remember the repeated assurances from President Obama and other officials that consumers would retain a variety of health-care choices.”
“If the health care legislation passed in 2010 is implemented fully and on schedule, public attention will turn to features of the legislation that were perhaps less obvious during the debate. For example, who ultimately controls the new health exchanges-the states or the federal government? Resolution of this issue could determine the nature of health insurance in America. The so-called OPM alternative will soon be seen as an end-run for the public option and, if it remains on the statute book, could lead to a far stronger public option than anyone thought possible. Employers and employees will soon wake up to the fact that the legislation will accelerate the erosion of employer-based insurance. And rosy projections that health spending will taper down will most likely prove to be an illusion-forcing choices about price controls and budgets. However Congress responds to these decisions, it will mean big changes in access to services and control of the system.”
ObamaCare is substantially worse than most people think. “The length and complexity of the legislation, combined with a debate that often generated more heat than light, has led to massive confusion about the law’s likely impact. But, it is now possible to analyze what is and is not in it, what it likely will and will not do. In short, the more we learn about what is in this new law, the more it looks like bad news for American taxpayers, businesses, health-care providers, and patients.”
New ObamaCare regulations to increase tax revenues by adding paperwork to small businesses will sock businesses with onerous regulations. “An Internal Revenue Service watchdog warned Wednesday the paperwork burdens on small businesses may outweigh the benefit of tax collections generated as part of the new health-care law. Starting in 2012, about 40 million businesses, charities and other entities will be required to report to the IRS payments they make to suppliers and service providers, the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service said in its midyear report to Congress.”
The only medical doctors in the Senate, John Barrasso (R-WY) and Tom Coburn (R-OK,) released “Bad Medicine,” a report on the 100th day of ObamaCare. It highlights the hidden costs and problems with the bill. “One of the most startling assertions in the Coburn/Barrasso report – which was obtained ahead of its release by The Daily Caller – is that nearly 100 million Americans will lose their current form of health insurance and will be required to obtain more expensive plans. One of the president’s most constant refrains in selling his health bill was that if Americans liked what they had, they could keep it.”