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Letter from the Editor: Insurance


I’ll admit I found the past week plenty confusing.

I read somewhere that Chief Justice Roberts had one of the those epileptic seizures, fried his brain and ended up voting with the liberal block rather than the conservative block on the Supreme Court over ObamaCare.  Or was it the other way around?

But so what?

As it turned out the only way you will ever have to pay a “tax penalty” for not having health insurance is if you pay in so much money you are owed a tax refund.

That’s something you should never, never do.  Nothing wrong with claiming a dozen dependents only for the purpose of avoiding withholding as long as you do not actually owe the money.  Or at least I read that somewhere.

So there is really not a lot going on here.

Personally, like I said, I am getting more than a little confused.   I do have health insurance, a high deductible plan.  About the only thing I do is buy about $130 worth of prescription drugs a month and a tiny bit for a yearly physical. I mean a really tiny bit.

My insurance company tapped my Health Savings Acccount $4.80  for my annual physical.   It had negotiated the rest of the $471.70 charge entirely away.

Insurance companies do that.  I think my insurance company wants to give me an incentive for getting that annual physical.

I have great doctor.  When I first re-located to the Denver area, I had an old guy doctor who seemed right for me.  But, after about three years, I  realized he answered few questions, and outright declined to do certain things like immunizations because he said he did not receive sufficient reimbursement from my insurance.

That was an unacceptable answer and I went looking a new doctor.  A friend gave me some advice: the younger, the better.  I ended up with a young internist who I’ve been very satisfied with.

I have no plan to change, and I have not seen anything from this ObamaCare thing that causes me think any change will be force upon me.   Am I missing anything?   I’ve always had health insurance, home owner’s insurance, and automobile insurance.

Doesn’t everybody?  Oh, that is the problem isn’t it?

Paying taxes and insurance has probably always been first tier expenses with me.  I wish the federal government would reward that behavior. The tax penalty for not getting insurance sounds like a reverse incentive to me, but it should help.

But that would be something.

So, I remain confused.  I really don’t understand what all the ObamaCare fuss is about.  I realize not everyone can be responsible for his or her own insurance payments, but I do wish ill people could seek medical treatment without thinking twice about it.

Many foodborne illnesses come with the common vomiting and diarrheal symptoms that  people often try and tough it out with.   We’d all be better off if they went in for laboratory testing and proper treatment.

We’d all be better off if more people who are victims of foodborne illnesses were covered by health insurance. People that are not covered are most likely not covered because they are not employed or at least under ObamaCare not by an employer with less than 50 employees.

An individual who goes insurance “bare” can avoid paying the “tax penalty” by not having too much withheld from their paycheck.   I admit I do not understand what happens to a business that’s goes “bare, other than they too might pay an penalty that is less than paying for their employees’ insurance costs.

All of these folks are supposed to be covered by these state groups, most of which are not set up for it.

But I am certain it can still be managed and it is not the end of the world.  If Obama is smart, he will use this juncture of his victor to “stop, look and listen” to see where this is all at.

I do believe that small business employment is held up because of the uncertainly around health care, and that’s not helping Obama.

If that’s the case, Supreme Court decision or not, next year we may end up implementing something called RomneyCare.

© Food Safety News
  • I really, really like your articles. You are spot on. Your last sentence was funny. Keep up the good work Dan.

  • Susan Coulter, DVM

    I’m glad someone is satisfied with the current insurance system because I certainly was not. For years as a self-employed person I paid $1000/month for an AVMA plan that covered whatever it felt like. Then I changed to a high-deductible plan for $500/month that covered absolutely nothing. Thank God for Medicare!!! Health care is the biggest crisis we have in this country. People who have coverage and are working are still financially wiped out by medical bills. Many homeless people are there because of medical bills. I am hoping for a change for the better.

  • doc raymond

    I am self-employed, 64 years old, and pay $450 per month for a very good insurance plan. You need to shop. That said, my 37 year old daughter has MS, and if she ever left group coverage, I seriously doubt she could find insurance as her drug bills are $2,500 per month–which her insurance pays minus her deductable.

  • I really, really like your articles. You are spot on. Your last sentence was funny. Keep up the good work Dan.

  • I really, really like your articles. You are spot on. Your last sentence was funny. Keep up the good work Dan.

  • Dan – It is likely that the high-deductible insurance plan and accompanying Health Saving Account (HSA) you currently enjoy will no longer be available. HSA qualified plans do not meet the Health and Human Services Medical Loss Ratio and will not be offered on the insurance exchanges where individuals will purchase insurance. The exchanges will be populated with expensive plans for the less healthy. The reason for doing away with HSA-High deductible plans is simple; the healthcare reform law attempts to pay for itself by mandating expensive insurance coverage for healthy people. Some research in to the MLR ratio on your end will show you that the plan you currently have will no longer be avialable.

  • Jim Golden

    Dan, do you realize that your current insurance plan will be unavailable once “affordable” healthcare takes effect? High deductible, limited covereage plans will not be allowed, due to the high level of minimum coverage required under the new law. Your rates will skyrocket compared to what you currently pay. Employers are right to be very nervouse about health care costs – once they start to rise in 2014, many will be forced to discontinue their insurance coverage and push their employees to the government run exchanges. More money, less quality, less availability.
    I live in Boston, the home of “Romneycare,” and we have the highest premiums and the longest wait times to see a doctor than any other large city. Can’t wait for the rest of the country to catch up to us…

  • Jim Golden, your comment contains inaccurate and misleading information.
    Employers may choose to drop insurance plans in 2014 and pay the penalty, but employees will then have options to pick up insurance on their own. Employees would also no longer be forced to stay with an employer for fear of losing insurance if they have a pre-existing condition.
    As for costs, I find the following about rates to be more accurate than your “sky rocketing” cost:
    “Q: Will my insurance premium go up?
    A: The Congressional Budget Office estimates that private health insurance premiums will increase by 5.7 percent each year, on average, from 2012 until 2022. But premiums would be getting more expensive with or without the Affordable Care Act. The budget office has estimated that, relative to what would happen in the absence of the law, premiums in the individual insurance market will be a little higher, employer-sponsored insurance premiums for big companies will be a little lower and employer-sponsored insurance premiums for small companies will stay about the same.”
    Yes, a single making over $200,000 a year,and a couple making over $250,000 will have a small increase in Medicare costs. I don’t think their lifestyle will be threatened.
    And the gold-plated health policies given to executives will start getting taxed–but again, I don’t think the people who have these policies will have their lifestyle threatened.
    As for Boston and the higher premiums, as another article mentions, when you factor in the higher incomes in Massachusetts, Boston health care premiums to wage percentages are less than those of people in Texas.
    Agree with the ACA or not, at least be accurate with your disagreement.
    This timeline might be a good place for you to start.