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Melody

Thanks, Obamacare!

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Citing Obamacare, Employers Tell Retirees To Seek Their Own Coverage - Forbes

More than 40 percent of employers that are altering their retiree benefits and related strategies have eliminated their traditional group health coverage for retirees over the age of 65 in favor of giving these former employees a defined amount of money for them to buy their coverage on the individual Medicare plan market, according to a new survey of more than 540 companies by employee benefits consulting firm Aon AON -0.15% Hewitt (AON).

Got the notification for my mother-in-law in the mail today. Her retiree insurance is going away, and her former employer will be depositing a modest sum into an HRA annually. Since she additionally is enrolled in a type of medicaid for nursing home patients, she probably won't be impacted financially even if she does have to pay additional over and above the HRA contribution to get supplement coverage. Except that this is going to be a HUGE pain. Everything will have to be re filed and reworked. Ugh. Unless you've had to go through the process to get medicaid, you can't imagine what a freaking paperwork nightmare it is.

(BTW, medicaid doesn't actually pay anything on her behalf. Because her income is less than the full cost of the nursing home, she is enrolled just to get the medicaid rate. Her income fully covers that. She gets a small monthly allowance that goes to having her hair done, then 100% of what's left goes to pay the nursing home. So I guess that if she is having to pay for her supplement, that means that much less is being paid to the nursing home. Dropping the insurance altogether and just relying on medicaid for what medicare doesn't pay isn't an option open to her.)

Edited by Melody

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Did you bother clicking through and reading the links to learn specifics of how and why?

For example, "The elimination of the tax-favored status of the RDS for 2013, coupled with the PPACA-prescribed improvements to the Medicare Part D program, created the impetus for employers to take action,"

Here's another issue: her policy wasn't a medicare supplement. It paid secondary to medicare, but there were a number of things covered by it which medicare does NOT cover. I think, at this juncture, she's going to be okay since she's is so debilitated and at the point where we aren't approving much beyond comfort care. But her fellow retirees from that company who are still independent and might need some of the services are screwed.

Edited by Melody

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Obamacare will be good for a certain amount of people but bad for more than that amount. I'm very grateful that my company is still funding me and my family. Our company was told by either HAP or by the rep we use that this upcoming enrollment period will be the last "normal" one. Next year the plans get worse and more expensive.

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This happened to my mom well before Obamacare was a twinkle in the Heritage Foundation's eye.

Scapegoating 101.

That's what I was thinking: companies must be honestly thanking Obamacare in private, since they can now blame it for cutting health benefits same as they have been.

This doesn't happen under good single-payer.

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That's what I was thinking: companies must be honestly thanking Obamacare in private, since they can now blame it for cutting health benefits same as they have been.

This doesn't happen under good single-payer.

Oh, no doubt they are thanking him in private. But that sure doesn't help the insured who, despite Obama's promises, are not getting to keep the insurance they liked.

Single payer, in this instance, wouldn't make a difference because she has medicare. Did you miss the part about it not being a medicare supplement, but a regular insurance policy and which covers care, tests, etc. that medicare does not? In a medicare supplement policy, what happens is that if medicare refuses it your supplement doesn't pay either so you either forego the treatment or pay non contract rate (sometimes 1000% more) out of pocket unless you can get the provider to negotiate a special self pay discount.

Medicare rules have changed since this was an issue for us, but when she initially started to decline alzheimer's and other dementias weren't considered a medical condition but rather a mental illness by medicare. All of her tests and treatments specifically relating to her dementia were paid for by her private policy until the rules changed. That's just one example. I have many more.

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This happened to my mom well before Obamacare was a twinkle in the Heritage Foundation's eye.

Scapegoating 101.

Is it also scapegoating to blame Obamacare for flipping the ratio of full-time to part-time jobs available from 6 to 1 last year to 1 to 4 this year?

It's Fact, Not Anecdote, That ObamaCare Is Turning Us Into A Part-Time Nation - Forbes

Nope, nothing to see here.

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I haven't looked too much into this stuff, but I sorta figured there were going to be unintended consequences from Obamacare. I think it was too much of trying to keep everyone happy rather than just blowing up the system and rebuilding from scratch. Don't get me wrong here... I wouldn't have been in favor of blowing up and rebuilding either, but I think the patch work that they did is going to cause more issues long term than blowing up...

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Employers are just making a knee-jerk reaction. It will all balance out in the end. Because of the ACA we will be hiring 3 new full time employees, as a business, we will also be getting more 3rd party reimbursement to add services.

On the surface people are freaking out and thinking they need to cut cut cut, but it's just foolish thinking. Having everyone covered will reduce the cost down the road. I think people underestimate just how much costs health centers and hospitals eat because so many people don't have insurance and don't get to a doctor until they need emergency care. With the Federal or State marketplace exchanges people will be able to be a consumer of health care for the first time, insurance companies will be forced to compete for the first time. This is good news.

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I haven't looked too much into this stuff, but I sorta figured there were going to be unintended consequences from Obamacare. I think it was too much of trying to keep everyone happy rather than just blowing up the system and rebuilding from scratch. Don't get me wrong here... I wouldn't have been in favor of blowing up and rebuilding either, but I think the patch work that they did is going to cause more issues long term than blowing up...

I agree with this. Our current employer dominated system stinks and Obamacare only makes it worse.

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Is it also scapegoating to blame Obamacare for flipping the ratio of full-time to part-time jobs available from 6 to 1 last year to 1 to 4 this year?

It's Fact, Not Anecdote, That ObamaCare Is Turning Us Into A Part-Time Nation - Forbes

Nope, nothing to see here.

Are you suggesting none of this was happening before ObamaCare?

No company ever..... EVER..... kept hours below a threshhold in order to avoid giving benefits. Never in the history of ever did that happen until Obamacare.

Edited by pfife

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I agree with this. Our current employer dominated system stinks and Obamacare only makes it worse.

I don't think this is true, once people start figuring out that they can get insurance through exchanges that will provide tax breaks, they will realize they are actually getting a deal. This will lead people away from employer based insurance. The burden will be shifted from the employer to the individual. Right now, the employer is over-reacting, and rightfully so. It will take time for the bottom line to balance out. But this is what it is supposed to do...employers give less insurance and individuals claim their own through various other means. The goal is for people to go to work without thinking about health care benefits.

And let's be honest here, employers have been trying for the last decade to shift cost from the company to the individual, the ACA is both convenient and useful for companies looking to reduce health costs and save face.

Edited by T&P_Fan

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Are you suggesting none of this was happening before ObamaCare?

No company ever..... EVER..... kept hours below a threshhold in order to avoid giving benefits. Never in the history of ever did that happen until Obamacare.

I am saying the ratio of full time jobs offered to part jobs offered in 2012 was 6 to 1, and now it's 1 to 4. That is all that I said. If you want to say such a flip is normal, then I'd be interested to see some numbers to back it up.

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I don't think this is true, once people start figuring out that they can get insurance through exchanges that will provide tax breaks, they will realize they are actually getting a deal. This will lead people away from employer based insurance. The burden will be shifted from the employer to the individual. Right now, the employer is over-reacting, and rightfully so. It will take time for the bottom line to balance out. But this is what it is supposed to do...employers give less insurance and individuals claim their own through various other means. The goal is for people to go to work without thinking about health care benefits.

We'll see. I'm skeptical, and the law is already having adverse effects.

And let's be honest here, employers have been trying for the last decade to shift cost from the company to the individual, the ACA is both convenient and useful for companies looking to reduce health costs and save face.

Perhaps, but the shift to part-time workers is both bad for the employee and employers. If that trend continues, then it's going to cause a number of adverse economic effects.

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It is possible that some companies will use Obamacare as an excuse to reduce benefits and hours in order to pad their bottom lines. Just sayin'...

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It is possible that some companies will use Obamacare as an excuse to reduce benefits and hours in order to pad their bottom lines. Just sayin'...

No compnay would ever do this.

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Are you suggesting none of this was happening before ObamaCare?

No company ever..... EVER..... kept hours below a threshhold in order to avoid giving benefits. Never in the history of ever did that happen until Obamacare.

As you suggesting that none of what's happening here is because of ObamaCare?

No company ever..... EVER.... has changed hours below a threshold in order to avoid Obamacare penalties. Never in the history of ever did any company do that because of Obamacare.

See how easy it is to make something sound silly when you put absolutes in the mouth of someone who didn't say them? I'm quite certain that Sparks does not think in the absolutes that you tried to portray him as saying anymore than I think you believe the absolutes that I tried to portray you as saying.

It isn't a question of if it's happened before (which is certainly has), but rather if it's happening significantly more now. And if it is happening significantly more now, why is it happening more now?

For what it's worth, I'm not convinced that Obamacare is the sole cause of the issue. After reading the linked story I'd like more data than just over the past 10 years which includes a massive recession and thereby could account for skewing. The question is, how much of the problem is because of Obamacare and how much of it isn't?

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We'll see. I'm skeptical, and the law is already having adverse effects.

Which in all honesty, isn't that unexpected. Employers are "protecting" themselves by cutting hours to reduce health coverage costs and insurance companies are price gouging because they know in the near future they won't be able to turn the same profits. This is a consequence of change.

Perhaps, but the shift to part-time workers is both bad for the employee and employers. If that trend continues, then it's going to cause a number of adverse economic effects.

I completely agree. In my opinion, this will be temporary and I view it as a knee-jerk reaction. I work for an ambulatory health care system, my job is to spell out the good and bad of the ACA and provide options to our administration and our patients. My advise is to stay patient. I think two things will come for the ACA:

1. Shift of health coverage from the employer to the individual, once people realize it isn't that big of a change, hiring practices will normalize.

2. Consumer market for health insurance which will lead to reduced premiums because of price point competition. This isn't true free market because there are still mandates, but the rationale is sound.

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1. Shift of health coverage from the employer to the individual, once people realize it isn't that big of a change, hiring practices will normalize.

2. Consumer market for health insurance which will lead to reduced premiums because of price point competition. This isn't true free market because there are still mandates, but the rationale is sound.

If those 2 things happen, then long-term, I agree it could be a positive. OTOH, there's still the cluster**** of new regulations that the law has created, and unintended consequences are likely to continue for awhile.

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If those 2 things happen, then long-term, I agree it could be a positive. OTOH, there's still the cluster**** of new regulations that the law has created, and unintended consequences are likely to continue for awhile.

Again, I agree with you here. I would consider myself a quasi-expert of the ACA, I have talked with countless people from all walks of business and healthcare and there is one conclusion we all draw...that in the end, we just don't know how it is going to work. We have our guesses and that is it. There are many people out there, with just as much knowledge, who would find my analysis to be bologna.

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Again, I agree with you here. I would consider myself a quasi-expert of the ACA, I have talked with countless people from all walks of business and healthcare and there is one conclusion we all draw...that in the end, we just don't know how it is going to work. We have our guesses and that is it. There are many people out there, with just as much knowledge, who would find my analysis to be bologna.

Why don't we know?

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Why don't we know?

Generally speaking, because we don't know if legislation will work as intended. There are many new regulations, regulations that if put into place properly will bare good fruit. However, I think it would be naive to think that all the new regulations will be followed to the letter. With Medicaid and Medicare expansion where will the additional revenue come from to pay for those? Will insurance companies find ways around the 80% payout to members? Will consumers take a liking to a more open market of health insurance? These are all debatable questions.

Michigan recently approved Medicaid expansion, which will allow many new people to become eligible for subsidized health care, but who will end up paying for it?

I do think business favor the idea of the ACA behind closed doors, because this really could be a shift from employer based healthcare to consumer based. If people have cheaper or better options employers will be thrilled. But for now, we don't know how the insurance companies will respond to the new regulations. There initial response has been price gouging, which has seen a rise in premiums. It's a waiting game.

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Generally speaking, because we don't know if legislation will work as intended. There are many new regulations, regulations that if put into place properly will bare good fruit. However, I think it would be naive to think that all the new regulations will be followed to the letter. With Medicaid and Medicare expansion where will the additional revenue come from to pay for those? Will insurance companies find ways around the 80% payout to members? Will consumers take a liking to a more open market of health insurance? These are all debatable questions.

Michigan recently approved Medicaid expansion, which will allow many new people to become eligible for subsidized health care, but who will end up paying for it?

I do think business favor the idea of the ACA behind closed doors, because this really could be a shift from employer based healthcare to consumer based. If people have cheaper or better options employers will be thrilled. But for now, we don't know how the insurance companies will respond to the new regulations. There initial response has been price gouging, which has seen a rise in premiums. It's a waiting game.

Thanks. I was curious since you are in the business.

Sounds like the lobbyists are still "writing" the bill. It kind of sounds like the fin/reg bill (Frank/Dodd) that is still only 40 percent implemented because the lobbyists are still haggling to change/water down the bill to what the banks want. This seems to be the same kind of thing; just exchange the med/insurance people and banks.

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Are you suggesting none of this was happening before ObamaCare?

No company ever..... EVER..... kept hours below a threshhold in order to avoid giving benefits. Never in the history of ever did that happen until Obamacare.

No. He's not. It's obvious he's not. Quit being a 179 degree angle.

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Is it also scapegoating to blame Obamacare for flipping the ratio of full-time to part-time jobs available from 6 to 1 last year to 1 to 4 this year?

It's Fact, Not Anecdote, That ObamaCare Is Turning Us Into A Part-Time Nation - Forbes

Nope, nothing to see here.

Loren Goodridge, the owner of 21 Subway franchises, says he has no choice but to cut the hours of his employees to 29 a week to avoid the law’s penalties.

Let's roughly calculate how much that reduction in hours will hurt employees:

Before: $8/hour * 40 hours/week * 50 weeks/year = $16000/year. After SS/Med: ~ $14,800

After: $8/hour * 29 hours/week * 50 weeks/year = $11160/year. After SS/Med: ~ $10,320

Difference: $3480/year.

Depending on age, however, an employee will now qualify for $2,500-$3,000 in health care subsidies. So the net loss in wages is probably less than $1,000/year, despite working over 500 less hours.

I'd say that's a big ****ing win for employees.

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