Protecting People from Obamacare
Obamacare is a disaster. As an employer of over 60 employees, I’ve had to deal with the challenges of protecting my employees from the threats of Obamacare – namely higher premiums, deductibles, higher taxes and penalties, and reduced access to health care providers. To ensure that employees were not stuck with ridiculously high deductibles or premiums that were unaffordable, we’ve had to take some extraordinary measures to protect them. Fortunately, we can protect our employees health insurance and work hours, but many other businesses cannot afford to do so, as millions are losing insurance or losing work hours. The Obama administration is predicting many more will lose insurance.
On the Board of Education, we recently dealt with another Obamacare nightmare. It’s “the gift that keeps on giving”. Sometime between when the Board approved a new Medicare plan for the school system’s retirees and when it was intended to go into effect, the vendor – United Healthcare – experienced some changes to the plan. A major change was the withdrawal of the John Hopkins Hospital System (which includes Howard County General Hospital). Hospitals withdrawing from Medicare health plans is happening across the country. Seniors are being denied care and their costs within Medicare are going up.
This obviously enraged our retirees. At the last School Board meeting, the Board enacted a “band-aid” solution that is merely temporary, allowing retirees to stay with their existing plan. This is a welcome change in the short-term and I applaud staff for quickly responding to this disaster. Here are the details andFAQs. But it is temporary. In the short-term, our retirees will be able to stay on their CareFirst and Aetna plans into 2014. However, big changes are already happening with these two carriers. 40% of people with CareFirst insurance plans are losing their insurance because of ObamaCare. The CEO of Aetna has admitted that Obamacare will be driving up costs – including $1B in new taxes that will pass through to patients.
With top hospitals pulling out of insurance plans all the time, it’s just a matter to time before these unwelcome changes greet us again.
So, while I am happy that we have taken an action to protect our retirees in the short-term, we’re going to have to think a little more creatively to protect them moving forward. Our retirees and all of our employees are like the rest of us – we will all be experiencing the huge unintended consequences of this misguided piece of legislation. Therefore to be honest, though we can be temporarily satisfied with this step, it is not sustainable and our Board of Education will need to revisit this issue again and again.