AARP Blames ObamaCare for Hike in Employee Health Insurance Costs


Couldn't have done this without you…

In 2009, the AARP argued that the health care law was a good deal for seniors. That remains to be seen, and a large number of seniors seem to disagree. Regardless, it appears it's less of a good deal for employees.

AARP's endorsement helped secure passage of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. Now the seniors' lobby is telling its employees their insurance costs will rise partly as a result of the law.

In an e-mail to employees, AARP says health care premiums will increase by 8 percent to 13 percent next year because of rapidly rising medical costs.

And AARP adds that it's changing copayments and deductibles to avoid a 40 percent tax on high-cost health plans that takes effect in 2018 under the law. Aerospace giant Boeing also has cited the tax in asking its workers to pay more. Shifting costs to employees lowers the value of a health care plan and acts like an escape hatch from the tax.

A spokesman for the organization says that the law accounts for only a small percentage of the hike. It's probably true that the group's insurance premiums would have risen even without the law, though not as much. And there's a case to be made that the Cadillac tax, if it actually goes into effect, could be a first step—an awkward, imperfect first step—towards breaking the U.S. the employer-sponsored insurance system. But neither AARP leadership nor its rank-and-file employees can be enjoying this.

Indeed, the health care law has proven something of a headache for the organization from the very beginning. Leadership liked it, but membership wasn't as pleased. Last year, the AARP reportedly lost 60,000 members angered over the group's support of the health care overhaul. When CBS reported the loss in September, the AARP responded that they hadn't officially endorsed any plan.  They also got touchy when the president said the group was on board, calling his statement "inaccurate." That was technically true at the time. But it wasn't inaccurate for long. In December of 2009, the group announced official support for the law. A letter from AARP CEO A. Barry Rand to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid gave increased "access to quality affordable plans" for individuals and small businesses as one reason for the group's support. A representative for the group said in an August 2009 Washington Post live chat that its support was predicated on the fact that "health care costs are growing too fast for everyone." The law passed, but judging by its own employee insurance premiums, that doesn't appear to have changed.

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  1. And there’s a case to be made that the Cadillac tax, if it actually goes into effect, could be a first step?an awkward, imperfect first step?towards breaking the U.S. the employer-sponsored insurance system.

    C’mon, Pete, we all know that every jot and tittle of ObamaCare is intended to break private insurance in this country in its entirety. Saying that one remote provision may adversely effect one aspect of private insurance is absurdly understating the case.

    1. Yeah. Break the employer sponsored insurance system and the federal government will step right into its place. It will not be an improvement.

  2. I was going to make a snarky comment about refusing to join AARP, but remembered that I’ll never have enough money to retire so I wouldn’t join their club anyway.

    1. I keep getting their solicitations in the mail.

      Even the manner in which they try to get you to join is annoying.

      They send you a “temporary” membership card that already has your name on it and simply instruct you to use that until the permament one arrives after you send in your payment.

      They don’t really try to convince you to join, they just assume that it is so self-evident that you should they don’t have to bother.

      1. I stuff junk into the postage-paid envelopes they include in these solicitations and send it back to them.

        1. That’s awesome. I’m going to start doing that.

          Meanwhile, I will laugh – (Mandark voice) ha! ha ha ha!(/Mandark voice) at old people who were stupid enough to believe the shit AARP shovelled on them, and at AARP who now have to listen to old people whining.

        2. LOL— I do the same..

        3. Send them a big heavy brick at their expense. Here is how http://officeofstrategicinfluence.com/bulkmailer/

          1. I moved into a zip code that was ‘changing’ at the time; got ‘save your soul’ solicitations in the mail, obviously aimed at highly religious blacks (from what seemed to be white shuckers and jivers). One had humorous cover art; this white, long-hair in robes on the front porch, the door being opened by a black family smiling at the freak instead of running him off.
            Anyhow, I started loading lathe chips in the postage-paid enveloped and sending them back.
            Pretty much worked, but one sent a paper ‘prayer hanky’ back with a request for more.

            1. One had humorous cover art; this white, long-hair in robes on the front porch, the door being opened by a black family smiling at the freak instead of running him off.

              For shame! That was Jesus!

      2. I’ve been thinking of starting ARCP – Assocation of Retired Conservative People. Sounds like I could quickly find at least 60,000 members.

  3. Now with the Republicans in control of the House, maybe they can reform ObamaCare just enough to allow a free market escape hatch that’ll pave the way to a real health care market.

  4. If anyone is a candidate for having lost more support over Obamacare than the Democrats, the AARP is it.

    1. Having recently turned 50, I’m getting crap in the mail pretty regularly from them. I’m contemplating all sorts of vile shit to do with it before I send it back.

    2. The AMA should also see a huge drop in membership, although admittedly it’s a smaller club.

      1. It had already seen the drop in membership way before Obamacare.

  5. Man these unintended consequences are working out perfectly. Just as planned.

    And they told poor Andy he was making one last episode.

    1. Please explain to us this concept of “unintended consequences” again.

      1. Trotsky, ice axe. That sorta thing.

  6. I wonder if Kathy Sebelius is going to threaten the AARP for misleading seniors like she threatened insurance companies.

  7. tulpa -good one. Perhaps someone could press her on this!!!

  8. I will NEVER, EVER join AARP. There’s a conservative alternative to AARP called AMAC.

    1. Of course you will. Once the Democrats regain their rightful control of the House, they’ll pass a law requiring everyone in the country over 50 to join AARP and pay annual dues (scrutinized by federal bureaucrats to ensure they rise at an “appropriate” pace).

      Republicans will brilliantly fight back by arguing that it shouldn’t extend to illegal aliens.

  9. Wait until the ObamaCare $600 billion in Medicare cuts supported by the AARP hits its elderly.

    There will be a mass exodus of AARP membership.

  10. Wasn’t Obamacare supposed to LOWER insurance premiums? Did I miss something?

    1. Let me be perfectly clear:

      1) The check is definitely in the mail

      2) I have not intention of cumming in your mouth

  11. Curious that AARP makes the announcement 3 days after the mid-term election.

  12. I wouldn’t count on the Stupid Party being able to rid itself of the propensity to be stupid and indulge in their Ruling Class Club behavior. There are enough Club Members to torpedo the noobs, and they will ferret out some minor nuance to demonize while expecting to receive the wheelbarrows of cash from the Lobbyists and from the remaining Incumbent Interests who have not yet completely lost their shirt or gone in the tank for Ob’ma.

  13. AARP is to geezers as the Democratic Party is to blacks.

  14. It always amazes me the arrogance of big organizations like AARP when the “Big Wigs” who run it think they know what they’re doing and ignore the very people who are it’s lifeblood – the members! Of course what they are paying themselves they don’t have to worry about rising health insurance costs.

  15. AARP can go “straight to hell”. These people attempted to game the system. They are essentially an Insurance Company masquerading as something else.

  16. I’m so sick and tired of getting solicitation from this phony group but now instead of just tossing their crap in the garbage I’m going to stuff the return envelope and send it back. LOL. Great idea!!

    1. I saved up ALL of my AARP-related junk mail for several months before sending all the pre-paid envelopes back. Inside each of them was my new AARP card which includes a photo of Clint Eastwood aiming an M-1 rifle coupled with the slogan, “My AARP Card Stands For Armed And Really Pissed!”

  17. I keep getting their solicitations in the mail.

    I get those same letters.

    A couple of days ago I finally had enough and mailed the response form back with my name crossed out, and stuck a Post It pad to the front with this written on it:

    AARP supported Obamacare. GO TO HELL, AARP.

  18. Where was the AARP when the majority of America’s seniors were betrayed and left to fend for themselves in the political arena? Like the AARP, the AMA sold out its constituents! Obamacare needs to be de-funded, then repealed in ’13 when a new president is in the White House (and the Senate is under Republican control); it would be wonderful if the PPACA legislation is ultimately ruled to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, but MEANWHILE we need to dismiss the AMA as anything but a corrupted, ineffective, and unfaithful remnant of physician trust and representation. See http://www.AmericasMedicalSociety.com for the latest entry on the AMA, courtesy of Matthew Sheffield and NewsBusters: “…Michael Maves, the president of the nation’s largest doctor group announced his resignation today. He was one of the Obama White House’s top allies in the recent health care battle. During the Clinton administration’s prior attempt to expand the federal government’s role in health care, the AMA’s opposition was often cited as a key point against the legislation.
    During Maves’ tenure, that position was reversed. Given the vast and significant public (and physician) discontent with Obamacare, this raises questions about what the AMA will be advocating now that victorious Republicans have signalled their desire to repeal or significantly change many aspects of what’s become popularly known as Obamacare.”

  19. I guess we we know why they want Obamacare to stand. They want the extra income. It seems like it should be criminal at this point.

  20. AARP has been selling out its members, & seniors for years. Did you know AARP is paid a royalty fee by UNH on supp coverage its members buy? Doesn’t that unnecessarily increase health care costs? Is that the reason AARP supports gov’t proposals unfriendly to seniors?

  21. If “Obamacare” was dependent on the cuts to be “deficit reducing,”
    could negating the cuts betray the electorate?

    “The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    has released the 2011 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule,
    which includes a 23 percent cut to Medicare physician fees…

    …Congress delayed a scheduled pay cut of around 20 percent in June.

    Rachel Fields
    Beckers Hosptial Review, November 04, 2010
    Did the delay of the June pay cut alter the “affordability”
    of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA),
    and if so, who voted for both the initial legislation
    and reverse the cuts making the law “affordable”?
    “…The report from Medicare’s Office of the Actuary
    …acknowledged that some of the cost-control measures in the [PPACA] bill
    Medicare cuts, a tax on high-cost insurance
    …could help reduce the rate of cost increases beyond 2020.

    …the longer-term viability of the Medicare . . . reductions is doubtful.”
    wrote Richard Foster, Medicare’s chief actuary”

    Associated Press
    Have the American people been lied to,
    if the government passed a law that said X,
    and those who voted for it did Y,
    that made the “affordability” non-viable?
    “…Neither the [the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)] bill
    …nor the accompanying reconciliation…
    …addresses the flawed formula that dictates physician payments under Medicare

    …a bill passed by the House in November would scrap the SGR altogether,
    replacing it with a formula designed to ensure that doctors’ Medicare payments
    reflect the true cost of delivering care.

    Pricetag: $210 billion.

    …it was that cost that caused Democrats,
    who’d vowed both to keep their reform package below $1 trillion and to offset the entire tab
    to strip the doc fix from the larger reform bills.”

    The issue has left Democrats in a pickle:
    …with voters already weary of deficit spending,
    nor can they borrow another $210 billion to fund a permanent fix.”

    Mike Lillis
    Washington Independent
    If Medicare Cuts
    are what makes the recently passed Healthcare Legislation “deficit reducing”
    abd the 23% cut is not enacted in December,
    how could those who voted for the legislation be considered
    not guilty of misleeding the electorate?
    From an email from some supporting the elimination of the cut:

    “Is the new healthcare law accounting dependent on the 23% payment reduction?

    If the can is kicked down the road,
    does the math in the healthcare legislation become not operable?”

    George Hartzman

    The answer:

    “That is how the administration officials explained it to us…

    …Their numbers are based on the law as it stands,
    and it currently stands that the cuts will occur.

    I think you know the answer to your last question.”

    Lee Beadling
    Managing Editor, Orthopedics Today

  22. The extent that the health care bill causes any particular plan to be more expensive than it otherwise would have been is directly proportional to the increase in quality of that plan. Yes, prices might rise a bit because the crappiest plans were outlawed, and mediocre plans might have to add a few things.

    It’s not a big deal at all.

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