Yes, Obamacare Could Affect You—Even if You Already Have Health Insurance



Obamacare's defenders, including President Obama, have recently begun making an argument intended to comfort Americans who might be concerned about the law: It simply won't be a big deal for those who already have insurance. If you're part of the majority of individuals who get health insurance through an employer, the law's only affect will be to increase some of the benefits that are available to you, and ensure that you can get coverage if you lose your job.

"If you're one of the nearly 85 percent of Americans who already have insurance, either through Medicare or Medicaid or your employer," Obama said in June, "you don't have to do a thing. You've just got a wide array of new benefits, better protections and stronger cost controls that you didn't have before, and that will, over time, improve the quality of the insurance that you've got."

Yet for some of those who currently get health coverage through their employers, the law is already having an impact—and not "just" more outside benefits. Some employers are dropping spouses. Some are eliminating low-cost coverage for certain employees. And more can expect to have their benefits crimped as the law goes forward.

Package delivery service UPS, for example, recently announced that it plans to cut off health benefits for about 15,000 of its employees' spouses. In a memo to employees, the delivery company cited rising costs for chronic health conditions, which, "combined with the costs associated with the Affordable Care Act, have made it increasingly difficult to continue providing the same level of health care benefits to our employees at an affordable cost," according to The Wall Street Journal, which first noted the memo. The goal of the reduction, which targets working spouses who can get benefits through their own jobs, a company spokesperson told the Journal, was to keep premiums at current levels for employees even as the company's health costs have doubled in the last eight years.

UPS isn't the only company cutting back on spousal coverage. The University of Virginia also announced this week that it's eliminating some spousal benefits too. Obamacare will raise health care costs for the school by about $7.3 million next year, officials for the school said, according to The Hill. In order to mitigate the added expense, the university says it's getting rid of coverage for spouses who have the option of getting coverage elsewhere. These people may like their current coverage—but they won't get to keep it.

Obamacare's restrictions on super-cheap health plans are also changing the way some employers offer benefits. Universal Studios said in February that it would stop offering health benefits to part time workers, because the inexpensive plans it offered didn't pass muster under the new law. Farm employers in California who previously offered their workers low-cost coverage won't be able to continue doing so under Obamacare.

The law also sets up longer-term incentives for employers to be less generous with health coverage. Starting in 2017, the law puts in place a new tax on high-cost health plans. There's some evidence that employers are already rolling back benefits in response.

"Companies hoping to avoid the tax are beginning to scale back the more generous health benefits they have traditionally offered," The New York Times reported in May, which undermines the president's claim that existing coverage will be improved under the law. Now, there's legitimate question whether Congress will actually allow this provision to go into effect. But if it does, it will probably end up affecting a lot more people. "The reality is it is going to hit more and more people over time, at least as currently written in law," John Hopkins health economist Bradley Herring told the Times. A 2012 survey of employers found that 42 percent would be hit with the tax in 2018 if they made no changes to their benefits. 

There are, of course, reasonable arguments in favor of the Cadillac tax, which is designed to stop employers from piling on generous tax-advantaged coverage that exacerbates the growth of health care spending. And Obamacare's defenders have argued that many super low-cost plans that will go away under the law weren't really worth having anyway. But that's not what the administration is saying. Instead, Obama, in a sort of continuation of his earlier promise that those who like their health plans will be able to keep them, is essentially telling people that existing employer-coverage arrangements won't change at all thanks to the law. But as thousands of employees at companies like UPS and UVA are all too aware, that's not quite true for everyone. 

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  1. YOU LIE!

    I was told I get to keep the coverage I have and that it would save me money….

    Take it all back!

  2. I noticed when my premiums began shooting up pre-emtpively as the regulations were read.

  3. They’re projecting a 60% increase in my premiums, so, yeah, that’s affecting me.

    1. Just imagine how big the increase would be if it wasn’t for Obamacare!

      1. Previous years data showed that the premium changes had been about on par with CPI, then the APA passed and it jumped to 250%.

        1. This shows how far out of whack our political system is. This impending disaster for so many and the substantial hit on an already-weak economy should combine to have members of both parties scrambling to repeal the law, just out of self-preservation.

          But in this day of spin-until-dizzy-and-unable-to-perceive-reality speechmaking, coupled with the total lack of holding politicians accountable, we’re just twiddling our thumbs, waiting for it to be too late to fix anything. Even the GOP, which should be standing outside the Capitol and refusing to move until the law is repealed, is mostly supine.

          1. But Pro Lib, you are not accounting for the fact that premium changes would have gone up 2500% if it wasn’t for Obamacare. I heard it on MSNBC. It’s only those stupid idiots on Faux news that are saying prices are higher because of Obamacare; they’re actually 90% lower. It’s just like the lies the Tea Baggers are trying to spread about the stimulus and unemployment.

        2. “Previous years data showed that the premium changes had been about on par with CPI, then the APA passed and it jumped to 250%.”

          Hmmm, citation needed.

          When I last looked into this during the ACA passage, health care costs AND premiums were increasing faster than inflation and had been doing so for at least a decade.

          It may be that the rate of premium increase has gone up, but I don’t think it is accurate to say that it was good before hand.

      2. Jeez, what a fool.

  4. the law’s only affect will be to increase some of the benefits that are available to you

    I think the word you’re groping for is “effect”.

    Yeah, I know. I’m a pedantic dick.

    1. You’re in error. The word is “affect,” as in “affectation”: behavior, speech, or writing that is artificial and designed to impress.

      1. Affects is a verb. Effect is a noun.

        1. You’re the world’s worst straight man.

        2. Actually, affect and effect are both both verbs and nouns. They just mean different things.

          1. Are you a psychologist?

            1. No, but I try to effect a better understanding of language whenever possible, which people might characterize as affected, I suppose.

  5. -There are, of course, reasonable arguments in favor of the Cadillac tax, which is designed to stop employers from piling on generous tax-advantaged coverage that exacerbates the growth of health care spending.

    What are the reasonable arguments in favor of the government interfering in the benefits packages that employers voluntarily give to their employees as compensation for work performed? Why should the government care about ‘health care spending’ that is not being done by the government?

    1. Wait, wound’t more healthcare spending create more taxible income for somebody? Wouldn’t the government want to encourage such to pay down its debts?

      Oh wait, I’m applying logic again.

    2. What are the reasonable arguments in favor of the government interfering in the benefits packages that employers voluntarily give to their employees as compensation for work performed?

      These benefits are not taxed, while income is. Thus more of the employee’s compensation is in the form of health expenditures than the employee would choose himself. That is economically inefficient as well as a considerable source of health care inflation.

    3. Because liberals are all about crontrolling your life?

    4. Because the caddy plans go to unions and corporate bigwigs. Unions bad. Big business bad. Government good. OK for congress to get a caddy plan. The get waiver.

  6. Seeing as how UVA fully supported it, they’re just getting what they voted for. They must be very happy.

    1. How do we know they fully supported it? I imagine thousands of people work there. I doubt they all supported it.

      1. On March 19, 2010, Sally N. Barber, Special Advisor to the Medical Center CEO released publicly a letter to then Congressman, Tom Perriello, endorsing the Democrats’ health care proposal:

        “I am writing on behalf of the University of Virginia Medical Center to indicate our support of the health reform package pending before the House because we believe providing affordable health coverage for more citizens of the Commonwealth is critical.”

        And this…

        B. Obama (i) Dem 75.8% 16,267
        M. Romney GOP 22.4% 4,801
        G. Johnson Lib 1.1% 236
        J. Stein Grn 0.5% 107
        V. Goode CST 0.2% 44

        1. Does the UVA medical center=UVA?

          Also, what percentage of UVA’s employees live and vote in Charolettesville and not surrounding jurisdictions?

          Of course, even if the answer to the first two is ‘yes’ and ‘a large majority’ that does not mean everyone or even a majority at UVA supported Obamacare specifically.

          1. How about this then…

            Seeing as how UVA fully supported it Medical Center went through the formality of releasing a presser supporting Obamacare and Charlottesville voted overwhelmingly for Democrats, they’re just getting what they voted for. They must be very happy.

          2. I don’t know the details of how UVA medical center interacts with the University at large. I know they are independent in some small ways like certain lab safety protocols, but I’d be shocked if the rest of the University administration was that out of step with the Health Center.

            The Charlottesville area has a population of roughly 100,000, with only about 30% of that living in the city proper. The rest are mostly in the same voting district, as the population density falls off pretty rapidly.

            The more blue collar workers (think maintenance and the like) probably lean very Republican. Beyond that, it is a pretty heavily blue city.

      2. “Hi. My name’s Bo, and I’m a fucking obnoxious pedant.”

        1. Yeah, seriously Bo, you need to relax a little bit. You do come across as an obnoxious pedant.

          Unless that’s the image you are going for. In which case, you nailed it bro.

        2. Thanks for calling out the idiot.

  7. Progs have convinced themselves that people are going to lose their insurance and this is going to cause them to come running to the very progs whose programs caused the people to lose their insurance. Maybe. But I don’t think that is going to work out so well for them. They really fucked up when they did this alone and didn’t get any Republican toadies to act as the fall guy. Millions of people are going to lose their health coverage that they were happy with and are going to know it was because of Obamacare. Maybe that will make socialists out of them. But I am not sure how.

    1. I think that plan might have worked if there was a functioning system available for those people to fall into. But it’s looking quite likely that the system they will fall into in less than two months is going to be a complete mess.

      1. Imagine if they had gotten the public option. They can’t set up these exchanges. The public option would have been an unimaginable train wreck.

      2. That’s a feature, not a fault. The ACA, as several deonkeys have admitted when they got caught in a candid moment, was enver about fixing anything, but about wreckign the system so the only option people had would be the single payer system they can not foist on people that have a choice.

        1. That is what they think. But I am not sure it will work out that way. It might have if they could have gotten some bi partisan support. They could have then used the Republican toadies who voted for it to call it capitalism’s last chance. But since it was all them, they won’t be able to do that. It might be people just say fuck it I want my old health insurance back.

          1. Sadly, there will be a call for the gub’mt to fix it. It’s obviously a problem due to the “free market” and evil, greedy healthcare companies.

            And the idiot republicans will be only too happy to comply. They will come up with betterer system.

        2. The other thing is that is never mentioned is that prior to Obamacare the vast majority of people in this country liked their health insurance. That never got mentioned because the Progs want single payer so badly. But look at the polls. It is true. The majority of people had health insurance and were happy with it. Now, a lot of them thought the system was messed up. But that was because of other people’s health care costs and coverage not their own. They liked their own just fine. So when this program changes that and causes all of these people who liked what they had before to all of the sudden lose their insurance or get really shitty insurance that is more expensive than what they had, I don’t think they are going to come running to single payer. They are going to demand their old insurance back.

          1. A quote from a Facebook conversation:

            The bottom line is, while ACA did some great things, I’m almost ready to join the conservative camp on the issue. It scares me what will happen to my own coverage and what will happen to my parents

            That might make you optimistic, except later on…

            I almost feel like we need to go back to the drawing board and get a lot more control over the insurance companies & the prices they set.

            It’s like an abusive husband blaming his wife for making him hit her harder. Sorry John, I don’t share your optimism on this one. Not unless this libertarian era I keep hearing about crashes the party real soon.

    2. The Dems don’t need Republican Toadies when the industry is a sufficient scapegoat.

      If you don’t think the Dems can and will paint every inconvenience as an example of industrial intransigence, you are crazy.

      It isn’t that Obamacare made insurance too expensive. It’s that the employers are too CHEAP to pay what you are legally entitled to.

      They’ve been doing this for every government caused “market failure” since the 20’s. Remember how California’s deregulation of the power industry allowed the free market to screw everyone who needed AC?

      1. They will try to do that. But see my post above. The dirty secret that the Dems and the media never talked about was that a large majority of people had insurance and were happy with it. That is why they sold this thing on “if you like your plan you can keep it”. Now that that is turning out to be a lie, they are going to have a lot harder time blaming the evil insurance corporations than they think they will.

        1. The vast proportion of Californians had decent electrical service prior to “deregulation”. And they were REALLY REALLY pissed off when their power bills skyrocketed and service started getting blacked out.

          But the Dems successfully pinned that entire tragedy on the “free market”, which led to their ability to justify all sorts of new regulations.

          Look, this is all the government’s fault, but there are plenty of cronies in the healthcare market that are going to profit and they will be the perfect scapegoat.

        2. If the media were the least bit interested in reality, then that might happen.

          But they aren’t. The Democrats, and their campaign staff who pretend to be journalists, have already started blaming Republicans for the law’s failures.

          Which makes the current GOP approach even more stupid. When things go wrong, Republicans (and libertarians, FWIW) are going to be the scapegoats. What they actually did or didn’t do has absolutely nothing to do with it. So do something useful.

      2. Thanks for pointing out that you are a socialist fool. I can now safely ignore anything else you say.

    3. They had plenty of Dem Toadies.

  8. How has Suderman not offed himself yet? I would if I had to write a daily article about Obamacare.

  9. Some employers are dropping spouses.

    I know at my current employer, Raytheon, it’s a lot harder to get your spouse covered. I worked for them previously from 2004 to 2007, and back then all you had to do was click a box and enter your spouses name and SSN on the electronic form when you elected your benefits. Not anymore, now you have to bring in a copy of your marriage certificate to prove that you’re actually married (not sure what they do for same sex partners in states that don’t allow gay marriage) and they also verify that your spouse is unemployed or otherwise unable to obtain their own employer provided coverage before they’ll let you add them to yours. For some reason the HR crone was very evasive when I asked if it was because of cost increases associated with Obamacare.

    1. And the costs are all going up. But where is the money going? To cover what? Whom? Everyone’s prices are going to go up, but the service is going to go down and the companies are going to go broke. It is astounding that they have managed to create a program that screws everyone.

      1. I think the risk of having to cover everybody, including existing condition, is part of the increase. Kind of like fire insurance increasing if you force insurers to accept coverage for a house already on fire.

        1. That, plus new regulatory overhead, plus a buffer to cover the uncertainty that’s inevitable when the “law” changes from day-to-day. You could wake up tomorrow and find you’re being crucified by the Administration as a cautionary example for your industry. Best to be prepared with the necessary tribute.

    2. The agency I work for manages health insurance for public employees, and we had a major project for a ‘dependant eligability audit’ right around the time the law started kicking in where we had to make people on family plans prove the eligability of their listed dependants. It was a sad time. Sounds a lot like what Raytheon is requiring up front for new coverage.

    3. I actually know why they are doing this and it’s not because of Obamacare. It has to do with some arcane aspects of government contracts cost accounting and the fact that your employer is one of the largest defense contractors in the country. See http://www.governmentcontracts…..are-costs/

      1. Or maybe it is like my employer who finally got wise to a group of new employees who had but their single mother cousins and/or girlfriends on their policy as spouses. Now that employer requires marriage certificates to get heavily subsidized family coverage.

  10. “You’ve just got a wide array of new benefits, better protections and stronger cost controls that you didn’t have before, and that will, over time, improve the quality of the insurance that you’ve got.”

    You know what I would have preferred, though? CASH MONEY. You can keep the hos.

    1. You’ve got a wide array of new benefits” – that I’ll never use because I don’t have the requisite body parts. Obstetrics and Gynecology simply doesn’t apply to me. “better protections” – From what? Being able to choose how my money gets spent? “stronger cost controls” – only if they mean my costs go up more agressively. Oh look, Obama got a mendacity hat trick in one sentence.

    2. All of these new benefits. You know. Things like my 70 year old widowed father now having insurance cover his abortions.

      1. My wife had a hysterectomy 10 years ago, but she still gets free birth control and pregnancy benefits.

        1. There is a small religious community of nuns that works closely with my wife’s church. The are currently fighting it out to not have birth control covered by their insurance as an objection of conscience.

          Forget conscience, we are going to make a bunch of post menopausal nuns carry birth control and abortion coverage? This is the progs idea of improving the system?

          1. From this day forward Baskin-Robbins may only serve Jamoca-Fudge ice cream, and all customers must be served the same size portion in a cup (cones are not allowed). The public option will cover 80% of the price of serving after the customer meets the 40 dollar deductible. Customers must show a state-approved ID which must be verified through a national database before the ice cream can be served.

            1. Nooo! I demand a right to pistachio!

              1. 2008: If you like your ice cream, you get to keep it.

                2013: FYTW

                1. The lack of flavors and increased costs is all the fault of the greedy ice cream vendors (not the actual ice cream makers) and their obscene profits.

            2. Sounds like the rules put in place to buy a six pack of beer in Penna. at selected supermarkets. I got carded today (age 69 and looking every bit of it) because the rules require everyone to present photo ID.

          2. I think the catholic church supported obamacare. So now they’re reaping what they sow.

  11. My wife works at UVA and I went to grad school there. She said people are pissed, but I’m not at all surprised. My friends on Facebook, however, are mainly discussing whether or not this is due to conservatives in the University administration and in Richmond trying to sabotage Obamacare. I’m not one to get into Facebook debates but I would love to point them to something that shows that, actually, Obamacare is increasing costs. But if they won’t believe HR then who the hell will they believe?

    1. Its always the evul insurgent other that are to blame in academe.

    2. I suspect a Governor McAuliffe will increase taxes to cover UVA’s budget shortfall to save these poor spouses from medical bankruptcy and desti?t(y)o?oSH?n.

      Fuck, man, having that clown for four years is going to suck something terrible. I anticipate an army of rejuvenated regulators running roughshod and the Right-to-Farm bill going nowhere. McDonnell needs to resign in disgrace if for nothing else than to set precedent.

      1. Cucinelli would have been awful too, just in different ways. There was really no hope for a good governor. It is depressing for what is an amazing state.

  12. I just got the good news on our new insurance plan. I lost a lot of friends today, because I won’t be able to see them without screaming at them for being dumb fuck liberals.

    1. What’s the news?

      1. My bet iis he is going to be paying a lot more, if not outright losing his coverage….

        1. In a positively Brooksian manner, he answers below.

          1. I answered in the wrong box . . oops

  13. “And Obamacare’s defenders have argued that many super low-cost plans that will go away under the law weren’t really worth having anyway.”

    Third-party twits have no business telling anyone whether X ‘is worth it’ to the parties involved in the transaction.

  14. my deductible went up 10X . . But I can contribute to an HSA if I want, so HSA contributions will need to exceed any raises until the HSA builds up high enough.

    Haven’t been through the details to find out what has or hasn’t changed in the specific coverage of the package.

    1. Belongs up there somewhere

    2. Deductible went up x10? How about premiums? I thought the deductibles on HDHP were the problem? They couldn’t be above $2500/person or $6350/family/year.

      1. I went from a very low co-pay program with a very low deductible (a cadillac program apparently) to the maximum 2500 deductible next year. The premium stayed in the same ballpark.

        1. Note that I am 56, so I paid the higher premiums to have lower deductibles, because I am more likely to need medical services than a 26 year old just starting out.

          So now my premiums stays high, but the deductible skyrockets. And I have to plan for putting a big chunk of the deductible every year, cause I’m an old fart.

          1. Is your employer contributing to the HSA?

            (And by the way, your HSA will likely be invallid in another year when the next obamacare rulings are released)

            1. A token amount

            2. They already caved to pharma companies and said that most OTC drugs no longer count for HSA.

          2. That will teach you not to live so long.

        2. Wait, your side of the risk got 10x worse and the premium stayed nearly the same? Holy shit. That’s tough.

          1. Yes. May POTUS pass of natural causes in the very near future.

      2. They couldn’t be above $2500/person or $6350/family/year.

        That’s not exactly true. My companies is $4,000 per person and $8,000 per family. Bu the company contributes $2,000 per year to the HSA, which assumable makes the Obamacare requirements.

    3. HSAs can be nice. That is if they don’t decide that those tax free contributions are being used to shelter money, and they faze them out. If you can afford it put as much as you can away each year -it will lower your taxable income – and pay out of pocket whenever possible, which with that big donut deductible all but makes it worth it.

      You can put away a ton of cash that way and then spend it later on “medical expenses” which is such a broad category anyway that it might as well be all encompassing.

      Be warned however that for some ungodly reason the feds feel that claiming the money was spent on a date because what comes after is according to Marvin Gay healing, doesn’t seem to be well received. Bastages…

  15. Landon. if you, thought Kathryn`s c0mment is good… last saturday I bought a gorgeous Saab 99 Turbo after bringing in $7520 this past 4 weeks and a little over ten grand lass-month. it’s definitly the coolest work Ive ever had. I actually started three months/ago and almost straight away started bringing in at least $80, per-hour. I follow this website,, http://www.max38.com
    &my; neighbor’s sister makes $65 every hour on the laptop. She has been fired for 8 months but last month her check was $20697 just working on the laptop for a few hours.

  16. I have a question. Could it be Americans of liberal bent believed that Obamacare wouldn’t affect them and that’s why they supported it? Sorta like a “hey, sure why shouldn’t everyone be covered? Obama said I can keep mine so what’s the big deal?”

    1. I think it is more likely that they listened to all the other liberals who said it would be a huge win and disregarded everyone else who said it would hurt, if not become an outright disaster. I think they honestly believed it would help them, but even more so, they honestly believed it was the right and moral thing to do. And they couldn’t or wouldn’t envision a solution to America’s health care problems that involved less government (see my above post).

  17. as Nicole replied I’m dazzled that someone can make $4730 in a few weeks on the computer. did you see this web page… http://www.max38.com
    my buddy’s mother-in-law makes $62/hr on the internet. She has been fired from work for ten months but last month her paycheck was $15873 just working on the internet for a few hours.

  18. Obama – “You’ve just got a wide array of new benefits,….

    Ah yes, the new benefits. My wife gave birth to twins three weeks ago. And the insurance company shipped a new breast pump to us next day shipping as a “new benefit”. It was identical to the pump we bought 3 years ago for our first kids that cost us $150. It’s still sitting in the box unopened. We’d Ebay it, but since their “free” to everyone now, the resale value is pretty low, and I’m more than a little afraid it’s illegal for us to sell it.

    1. Congratulations.

      On the twins.

      Not the pump.

      1. Could you post a picture of the twins? Not the babies. The other ones.

  19. my best friend’s mom makes $78 an hour on the internet. She has been out of a job for seven months but last month her payment was $17593 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read more on this site.???


  20. Don’t worry, Obama will simply mandate that spouses be covered, and then this will magically get fixed. And if that doesn’t work, he’ll simply mandate that corporations hire employees, and then everything will be alright. After all, if you’re as smart and important as he is, all you need to do is legislate and everything will magically get fixed. Well, if it weren’t for those evil people who interfere in his designs.

  21. Of course the purpose of Obamacare is to incentivize your employer to drop you from coverage, increase premiums, penalize people who don’t want health insurance, increase wait times, lower quality, etc., which is all calculated to make people so pissed off that everyone will be clamoring for a single payer system.

    1. Let’s make Nancy Pelosi the ‘single payer.’

  22. ——– Original Message ——–
    From: Mike Szymanski
    Date: Aug 24, 2013 10:27:05 AM
    Subject: Something good from Spain

    Some tasty food for thought…

    My thesis, therefore, is this: the very perfection with which the 19th century gave an organization to certain orders of existence has caused the masses benefited thereby to consider it, not as an organized, but as a natural system. Thus is explained and defined the absurd state of mind revealed by these masses; they are only concerned with their own well-being, and at the same time they remain alien to the cause of that well-being. As they do not see, behind the benefits of civilization, marvels of invention and construction which can only be maintained by great effort and foresight, they imagine that their role is limited to demanding these benefits peremptorily, as if they were natural rights.

    In the disturbances caused by scarcity of food, the mob goes in search of bread, and the means it employs is generally to wreck the bakeries. This may serve as a symbol of the attitude adopted, on a greater and more complicated scale, by the masses of today towards the civilization by which they are supported.

    ~ Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset, “The Revolt of the Masses” (1929)


    In the disturbances caused by scarcity of free stuff, the mob goes in search of health care, and the means it employs is generally to wreck the health care system.

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