Obamacare

The Worst Argument Against Catastrophic Health Coverage

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Whitehouse.gov

It's hard to think of a worse argument against catastrophic health plans, which generally charge lower premiums than most health insurance plans but come with higher deductibles, than the one offered by a Georgetown health research professor at the end of this Kaiser Health News article:

Many experts scoff at the argument that people don't need more than a very high-deductible policy because they're healthy and don't use many medical services.

"Unfortunately, people have catastrophic things happen to them, or they get chronic conditions that expose them to serious financial harm," says Sabrina Corlette, research professor at Georgetown University's Center on Health Insurance Reforms.

"The [ACA] provisions are designed to protect people from potentially ruinous medical bills," says Corlette.

This seems more than a little confused. The entire point of high-deductible insurance is to protect people from "catastrophic things" that result in "potentially ruinous medical bills." What those sorts of plans don't do is offer is coverage for routine medical expenses and lower-cost procedures.

Granted, this isn't the first time an Obamacare defender has come across as confused about high-deductible plans. In March, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius tried to argue that inexpensive catastrophic plans aren't really "health insurance" at all. "Some of these folks have very high catastrophic plans that don't pay for anything unless you get hit by a bus," she said in response to a report by the American Academy of Actuaries estimating that average health premiums would go up under Obamacare. "They're really mortgage protection, not health insurance."

This fundamentally misunderstands the nature of insurance, and it ignores the value of these plans to people who simply want to insure themselves against large, unexpected expenses. But many of the people who have that coverage now will have to drop their current plans. Because what Obamacare's provisions are designed to do is regulate many of today's high-deductible health insurance plans out of existence. As the KHN piece also notes:

In 2014, plans sold on the individual and small group markets will have to meet new standards for coverage and cost sharing, among other things. In addition to covering 10 so-called essential health benefits and covering many preventive care servicesat no cost, plans must pay at least 60 percent of allowed medical expenses, and cap annual out-of-pocket spending at $6,350 for individuals and $12,700 for families. (The only exception is for plans that have grandfathered status under the law.)

Plans with $10,000 deductibles won't make the cut, say experts, nor will many other plans that require high cost sharing or provide limited benefits, excluding prescription drugs or doctor visits from coverage, for example….Many policyholders don't realize their plans won't meet the standards set by the Affordable Care Act next year, say experts.

If you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan…so long as Obamacare doesn't render it illegal.

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  1. They don’t need to understand what they’re arguing against, only that what they’re arguing for is good and pure and part of the agenda.

    1. It’s all one big ass-blast.

      1. Sometimes you jsut have to roll with the punches.

        1. Damn, and all this time I thought you were a human.

          When you bots take over, I’m fleeing into the mountains.

  2. “Granted, this isn’t the first time an Obamacare defender has come across as confused…”

    Maybe “confused”. Maybe outright lying.

  3. Medicare should also be high deductible to save money then.

    1. If it can’t be eliminated entirely, then, yeah. Good idea, shriek!

    2. Actually, Medicare Part B provides for 80/20 cost sharing with no cap, so if you don’t purchase a Medicare supplement, you’re on the hook for an unlimited amount.

    3. Go set yourself on fire, you worthless cunt.

  4. I have a family high deductible plan. Deductible is $5,000, out of pocket is $7,500. Includes a “free” $500 a year of preventative care, which they put in for Obamacare reasons (and upped our payments accordingly). I like my insurance. I’ve been told it meets the standards. Will be extremely pissed if I have to give it up.

    1. Don’t you remember Obama’s promise? If you like your insurance and want to keep it, great. But if Obama doesn’t like your insurance then you can go to hell.

      1. I say every single person who has to change their plan should sue Obama. I mean, sue him personally. Now and when he gets out of office. Sue him for this and for anything else you can think of. Millions of lawsuits.

        1. Let’s see…5 thin dimes on every pack of cigarettes since March 2009…plus damages….legal fees…

    2. The max out of pocket will be $6,350 for “non-grandfathered” plans in 2014, so hopefully it’s grandfathered.

      1. They had to grandfather a lot more when they saw the torches & pitchforks come out from HDHP owners.

      2. Almost certainly won’t be grandfathered. Your working assumption should be that if the plan has changed at all, in any particular, since OCare passed, its not grandfathered.

        1. Grandfathering is no good when it comes to insurance.

          If the insurance company can no longer offer a product to new customers, it will eventually drop the product. As people drop coverage, the product will become too expensive to administer.

    3. This is the way to actually control healthcare cost. Individuals are more careful about costs and usage when they’re paying first dollar. Combine high deductible plans with HSA and individuals have a real capacity to manage their own costs.

  5. Granted, this isn’t the first time an Obamacare defender has come across as confused ….

    Really wasn’t this all that was needed for this article.

    I’m such a timesaver.

  6. You guys seem to have an endless number of really uncomfortable looking pictures of the two of them. Is BO one of those types of bosses that can’t keep his hands off of people? Or do they have a thing?

  7. I’m torn between utilizing the VA exception or just paying a yearly fee for the privilege of avoiding the VA system entirely.

    Second choice seems totally worth it.

    1. Do both. You just have to enroll in the VA for exemption, but you don’t have to use it for your non-service connected healthcare.

      1. Therein lies the rub. I prefer to see a private doctor for my service connected issues. I get actual “healthcare” from him, not surgery after surgery and painkillers passed out like Pez candy.

        1. I should have added you don’t have to use for service connected healthcare either (but then you may not get reimbursed depending on a lot of other factors – ymmv).

          I didn’t see any downside when I enrolled. I was within the window when you don’t have to disclose all of your assets and so on. Once that window expired, I was moved down to a higher eligibility group but was still enrolled (good enough for Obamacare) and no annual fee or paperwork. I had and still have private insurance and a provider that I actually use for medical care.

          Plus, a number of businesses around here give discounts to veterans and the VA ID card is a lot handier than toting around a DD214.

          1. Seriously, this is good news to me. Thank you.

  8. In civilized countries people walk into clinics and get treated for free. The cost is totally socialized. And it’s cheaper per capita that our system by about half. What could possibly be wrong with that?

    “It doesn’t fit into our antigovernment ideology” is a pretty stupid ass answer to that question.

    1. In civilized countries people walk into clinics and get treated for free.

      Just because the costs are hidden doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

      The cost is totally socialized.

      Ohhhh, so, in fact, treatment isn’t free.

      And it’s cheaper per capita that our system by about half.

      Citation.

      Also, having been the recipient of NHS care, the quality of care is fucking garbage.

      Also also, it’s usually “cheaper” because certain procedures and medicines are either “cost controled” or outright disallowed. Which sorta goes back to my first “also.”

      1. Don’t respond to it – its vision is based on movement.

        1. If we can get its eyes treated at the NHS, perhaps we can eliminate its vision altogether.

          1. Oh, that was good. Thanks for the laugh.

            1. Could this be White Indian? He is using the handle Redman after all.

              1. Nevermind. I has a confused.

                1. Lol I was saying don’t respond to Tony because he possesses the reasoning capabilities of a large extinct reptile.

        2. Bad luck for a carrion eater.

    2. What countries are you talking about? Because I’ve lived in the U.K and France and neither offered the easily cheap access to healthcare you describe. In the U.K waits can be intolerable. In France, as well as having waits for common services, they must pay for them.

      Also, how long do you think the social welfare states with their current demographics and economic circumstances will be able to continue on as is?

      Also, I just point out that in 1975 50% or all pharma and medical research was published out of and conducted in Europe. That figure is now less than 18%. Want to guess why?

    3. Tony| 8.19.13 @ 7:13PM |#
      ‘In civilized countries people *sign up for* clinics and *might* get *rotten treatment* for free.

      Fixed, shithead.

      1. If Tony wanted shitty socialized medicine why didn’t he just join the military? Then he can “walk into” a VA clinic anytime he wants and receive the “free” treatment that I avoid like the plague.

        1. He’s openly gay, so that wasn’t an option until recently – and I suspect he’s otherwise not eligible now.

    4. I have a several good friends who live in Sweden. I can arrange for you to speak with them if you would like some reality based dialogue. They absolutely hate what their country has become. I know proglodytes constantly use Sweden as their prime example but I really do not believe any of them have actually ever spoken with any working citizens from there.

      1. I think it would be odd if a majority of Swedes felt that way.

        1. Yeah, it’s not like there’s any deeply unpopular programs that nevertheless last more or less indefinitely in democratic countries. No sir.

  9. It’s because they can’t or won’t argue what they really want. They want to fuck up the health insurance market so badly that people will be begging for single-payer.

    The fucked up thing is, everyone knows it, but no one wants to talk about it.

    1. True. Oh and Racist!!!!

    2. Yep. These pricks know how to play the game. Fucking slime.

    3. The fucked up thing is, everyone knows it, but no one wants to talk about it.

      Harry Reid outright stated as much a couple weeks ago.

      They aren’t exactly hiding the intent now, it’s just that the stupid party and the 5th Column (media) are refusing to pound this shit.

    4. If increased government intervention in the system resulted in the system being terrible, why would people beg for an even more massive intervention?

      1. Haha, nice.

      2. Fytw

      3. If increased government intervention in the system resulted in the system being terrible, why would people beg for an even more massive intervention?

        Worked for retirement, auto insurance, banking, investment, automobiles, the environment, education, housing, drugs, poverty, and, yes, health care.

  10. Granted, this isn’t the first time an Obamacare defender has come across as confused about high-deductible plans. In March, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius tried to argue that inexpensive catastrophic plans aren’t really “health insurance” at all.

    Never attribute to incompetence, to what can easily be explained by boot-licking mendacity.

  11. I’ll mention this again since it’s never really mentioned. The problem with government paying someone’s health bills, whether it be single payor, a binary system, or a multiplicity of payors, is that 1) government has bottomless pockets and 2) government is political. Whenever a citizen can have his treatment paid by the government, then they will demand all the treatment they can stand. Whenever someone has to pay for at least some of the treatment, their demand for health services is waned to that which is really needed. And the latter also serves the desirable purpose of not over treating folks.

    And the Medicare co-pay is not really a big deal as Medicare doesn’t go around suing anyone for not paying it. I’ve represented and consulted with hospitals in Medicare programs and trust me on this, from my extensive experience in government-funded healthcare, the bulk of the tax dollars goes to entrepreneurs who own the providers and administration. America would be stunned if they knew how many entrepreneurs are getting filthy rich off of owning Medicare-funded “healthcare clinics.” I’ve seen their income statements and tax returns; these guys make a ton of money off the government. Single payor will only make them richer.

    1. America would be stunned if they knew how many entrepreneurs are getting filthy rich off of owning Medicare-funded “healthcare clinics.”

      I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise.

  12. High-deductible plans are banned because you can’t socialize healthcare costs if people are permitted to pay out of pocket for treatments on an individual basis.

  13. I had a plan with Oxford NJ a few years ago (I was between jobs so I had sought private insurance) and it was a pretty basic/cheap plan that was a good fit for me since I’m young and have few medical expenses. About a month after Obamacare passed, I received a letter from my insurer. It stated, in effect, that that particular plan was being cancelled in anticipation of the newly-passed healthcare law.

    “If you like your insurance, you can keep it.”

  14. “South of the border”, free market clinics charge as low as $2 for real doctor treatments. No prescription necessary for medicines nor lab tests. Come on down!

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