(Market Watch) – The White House has approved a deal that will exempt members of Congress and their staff from some of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, Politico reported late Thursday. Under the law, popularly referred to as Obamacare, lawmakers and their aides were required to source health insurance “created” by the law or offered through one of its exchanges, and without the subsidies they currently enjoy, the members of Congress would have faced thousands of dollars in additional premium payments each year, the report said.
However, the Office of Personnel Management now plans to rule that the government can continue to make a contribution to the health-care premiums of the lawmakers and their staff, it said, citing unnamed congressional sources and a White House official.
– Market Watch: Congress to get Obamacare exemption: report
While Politico reports,
Until now, OPM had not said if the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program could contribute premium payments toward plans on the exchange. If payments stopped, lawmakers and aides would have faced thousands of dollars in additional premium payments each year.Under the old system, the government contributed nearly 75 percent of premium payments.
Obamacare in Georgia: Sticker shock
(Savannah Now) – Georgians who will be forced to buy health insurance under Obamacare later this year should be prepared to dig deeply into their wallets — then hold on for dear life.
That’s because of heart attack-inducing sticker shock.
The premiums for the five health insurers that will be offering policies in Georgia’s federally run insurance exchange are “massive,” according to Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens.
“Insurance companies in Georgia have filed rate plans increasing health insurance rates up to 198 percent for some individuals,” Mr. Hudgens wrote in a July 29 letter to Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services and the president’s point person on Obamacare.
The commissioner correctly said that Georgians cannot afford these steep hikes. For their protection, he asked for an emergency, 30-day delay on the July 31 deadline for his department’s approval of the increases.
Predictably, Ms. Sebelius gave the commissioner — an open foe of Obamacare — the cold shoulder. That left Mr. Hudgens no choice but to approve these rates Wednesday.
So what will this mean for people in the Savannah area who will be forced to buy health insurance or pay a penalty to the government when they file their personal income taxes?
They should shop around on the private market. Or, they may find that it’s less expensive not to buy a policy and pay a penalty — defeating the purpose of the president’s plan to reduce the percentage of uninsured Americans.
Interestingly, Mr. Hudgens said the premiums that these companies are charging aren’t excessive — if you look at the ground rules that Obamacare established. Put simply, insurers had to flatten premiums if they wanted to be players. Younger people, who are healthier and file fewer claims, would be forced to pay a lot more for an insurance policy than they do now. Older people, who tend to have more illnesses and require more services, would still pay more — but the percentage increase would be less than their younger counterparts.
Premiums would be tailored to regions of Georgia. Generally speaking, the more competition among health-care providers, the lower the premiums.
Prices weren’t available for this area for Georgians of different age groups. But they probably aren’t too far removed from what insurers will charge in the Atlanta market. Kyle Wingfield, a columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, outlined them this way:
• A 25-year-old, non-smoking male can currently buy the cheapest, no frills plan with high out-of-pocket costs for about $66 a month. If the premium hikes go through, that plan would cost from $150-197 a month, depending on the insurer.
• A 45-year-old male non-smoker can find a low-cost plan for $119 a month. A similar plan offered under the exchange would cost from $217 to $234 per month.
• A 64-year-old male non-smoker can find a low-cost plan for $293 a month. Similar plans offered through Obamacare would cost from $450 to $501 per month.
At the 11th hour, two private health insurers that do business in Georgia, Aetna and its subsidiary, Coventry Health Care, announced that neither would participate in Georgia’s exchange, expected to be operating Oct. 1. Officials for the companies doubted that the plans they would offer would be “financially viable” — meaning that they don’t make sense because they would be net losers for the company. That’s the not-so-hidden flaw in Obamacare — it’s going to require a massive subsidy to keep afloat.
But the so-called Affordable Care Act is the law of the land. Until Washington changes the rules, Georgia is stuck — as are Georgians who will pay more for what they have now. –Savannah Now: Obamacare in Georgia: Sticker shock
WEB Notes: Remember the article we posted about Obama titled, “Does the Obama Birth Certificate Issue Have Biblical Implications? Forensic Findings on Obama’s Birth Certificate: ‘A 100 Percent Forgery, No Doubt About It’ If taxes truly go up that would qualify him as a raiser of taxes. Let us just keep our minds open to this possibility.