Front and Center

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Tag Archives: Health care

About Granting “exceptions” and Free Contraception

I saw a piece regarding President Obama and the uproar caused by saying church-sponsored institutions have to provide contraception to employees.  Today, he reversed course and said that insurance companies would be forced to provide it for free to the employees of such institutions.    What’s funny is, it still means the institutions will pay for it, because typically a company will pay for part of the benefits package provided to their employees.  So, they will still pay.  Remember, there is no such thing as a free lunch!

While reading said piece, I found something in the comments section that I found to be very interesting, and spot-on:

There is a deep and very troubling issue being missed in not only this debate, but permeating the entire Obama administration. See today and also  recall yesterday  just how often the word “exception” is now used in edicts from Obama and his administration. In manufacturing, banking, education, health care by-passed senate confirmations and now religion, we get word from Obama that “we have granted an exception”. Granting  exceptions requires one be in absolute authority over those seeking relief from an onerous government imposed obligation. We are no longer being governed with our consent, but are in fact ruled by edict through Obama’s consent. Obama has not yet superseded  that authority which the Declaration of Independence plainly says  our individual rights come from and Obama must be told that in plain and simple words.

It makes me wonder if folks realize that–if you have to grant exceptions to a rule, then maybe, your rule should be changed?

I also wondered about “free” contraception.  Why should contraception be free?  Or Viagra?  Why should the government be involved in it?  Maybe there is a good reason, but its not coming to me right now.

QuickHit: Show me REAL Healthcare Reform

People are thinking that Republicans have a snowball’s chance in Hades of repealing the so-called Health Care Reform bill.  That’s a waste of time.  You know what would impress me?  If they turn around and say that they are going to create legislation to provide REAL healthcare reform.  Reform that addresses what the previous bill should’ve addressed–the rising costs of health care.  Every year, the costs of getting medical care goes up.  Ladies and Gentlemen, THAT is the main reason the cost of health insurance goes up every year.  So let’s see if someone comes up with a way to address that.

Healthcare Reform–What is MLR and how it may affect you

Healthcare Reform.  A topic that dominated the airwaves for months as President Obama and the Democrats attempted (and succeeded) to passing major legislation changing the way we do health care in America.  Later, we will discuss how what was passed wasn’t as much healthCARE reform as much as it was healthINSURANCE reform, but we’ll discuss that later.  For now, lets discuss MLR.

MLR, or medical loss ratio, is the amount of each dollar an insurer takes in that much be used to pay for medical coverage.  The concept is simple:  when you the insured pays a dollar of premium to, say, United Health Care, UHC is required to spend a certain amount of that dollar on things related to patient care.

Currently, that ratio is all over the map and depends on carrier as well as individual state mandates.   One may find that one carrier’s ratio may be in the 70s, while another carrier may be in the 90s.  But that is about to change.  New rules will require all carriers to have a MLR in the 80% to 85% range.    If a carrier is found to have a ratio exceeding that, they will be require to pay a rebate or refund to plan participants.  So, consumers are definitely going to get more bang for the buck, right?

Maybe.  Maybe not.

There are at least 2 ways that the new provision will most likely negatively affect consumers.  First, there are already carriers that are getting out of the major medical insurance business because they will not be able to comply.  “Big deal!” most will say.  But we all know what happens when we have fewer providers to pick from.  The amount we as consumers spend goes up because each carrier gone reduces competition.  Second, carriers are going to begin cutting commissions to insurance brokers and agents.  For many, that’s not a big deal and they could care less about it.  But there are a significant number of consumers who prefer the ability to deal with an agent who is available to explain plans and coverages as opposed to calling a particular carrier’s customer service line.  When those agents disappear, consumers will find themselves on their own in regards to figuring things out.

All this isn’t to say MLR is a bad thing.  But knowing how it may affect you is a GOOD thing!