J. D. Heyes
July 29, 2013
The Obamacare disaster continues to unfold, months before the entire law is even supposed to take effect, with everyone from
insurance companies to firms and private individuals positioning themselves to best withstand the onslaught of job-killing, care-stealing bureaucracy.
One of the “Affordable” Care Act’s most recent casualties is Anthem Blue Cross, which has announced it will shun California’s small-business health insurance market, which the Los Angeles Times describes as a “a potential setback in the state’s rollout of the federal healthcare law.”
Actually, it’s more like a “potential setback” for small businesses needing competitive insurance rates to remain afloat, but I digress.
More from the Times:
Anthem, a unit of WellPoint Inc., is California’s largest insurer for small employers. The company’s surprising move raised concerns about the state’s ability to offer competitive rates and attract businesses to its new Covered California exchange that opens Jan. 1.
Broken promises, expensive coverage, fines, lines and dupes
Remember when Obama promised over and over again that, “if you like your health insurance plan, you can keep it,” and, “no one will take it away, no matter what”?
He also promised that “if you’ve got a doctor you like, you’ll get to keep your doctor.”
Not so fast. On that last promise, here’s a little tidbit of info from the Imperial Department of Health and Human Services website – a quiet little admission that, no, you and your doctor may not have a permanent thing going on after all is said and done:
Depending on the plan you choose in the Marketplace, you may be able to keep your current doctor. Different plans have different networks and providers[.] Most health insurance plans offered in the Marketplace have networks of hospitals, doctors, specialists, pharmacies, and other health care providers. Networks include health care providers that the plan contracts with to take care of the plan’s members. Depending on the type of policy you buy, care may be covered only when you get it from a network provider. When comparing plans in the Marketplace, you will see a link to a list of providers in each plan’s network. If staying with your current doctors is important to you, check to see if they are included before choosing a plan.
Back to Anthem, the giant became the first insurance company to opt out of California’s small-business insurance market. Other insurance biggies – UnitedHealth Group, Inc., and Aetna, Inc., previously announced they would not offer individuals coverage in California.
Granted, Anthem said it would continue selling to small businesses that remained outside of the government-run health exchanges established under Obamacare, but that alone tells you all you need to know: The company is afraid of the consequences of becoming mired in perhaps the largest federal bureaucracy ever devised. And, given the government’s poor record of “managing” anything, who can blame them?
“That’s really surprising and not a good thing for (California’s) exchange,” Micah Weinberg, a senior policy advisor at the Bay Area Council, an employer-backed San Francisco group, told the Times. “Anthem is a very major player in the small-group market and you want a broad range of insurers, particularly the most compelling brand names.”
Naturally those running Covered California, the state’s federally-operated exchange, are downplaying Anthem’s decision.
“We don’t think it will have a huge impact,” said exchange spokesman Dana Howard. “There are other companies that are just as big. This will be a competitive market.”
Only going to get worse
But Anthem is only doing what other insurers – especially the larger, more well-known companies – will most likely do in the coming months. The Times spells out the reason why:
One concern for health insurers selling in exchanges is that too many customers with big medical bills pick a certain company and it absorbs a higher share of the medical costs among that population.
“The reality is that risk is not spread equally in an exchange,” said Bruce Jugan, an insurance agent in Montebello and president of Benefitscafe.com, which sells health insurance to individuals and businesses.
And there you have it.
The closer we get to its full rollout, the more we learn just how bad of a “train wreck” Obamacare will be. Stay tuned; it’s only going to get worse from here.