20 Feb 2014 Our New Policy May Be Worse Too
I have an article today in the American Spectator looking at whether small-group health insurance cancellations will get the media attention that the cancellation of individual policies received. In it I note that my fellow National Center for Public Policy Research employees and I will lose our current policy with Kaiser Permanente due to ObamaCare:
Our Kaiser policy, which NCPPR has had since 1996, comes up for renewal on April 1, at which point we will have to switch to a new and probably more expensive one. If we switch to the platinum plan that Kaiser is recommending for us, our premiums will increase by about 6 percent. That’s not horrible, especially when compared to what other small groups are facing, but it’s not exactly welcome news either.
What I didn’t get a chance to explore in the Spectator article is whether the new policy that Kaiser is recommending is any better. Our current plan is a DC Small Group $5/$10/$0 IP/$0 Rx Ded. The new plan that Kaiser recommends is a DC Small Group Platinum 0/20 Dental. So, if we choose that plan, what are we getting for (1) the loss of our current plan, and (2) the roughly 6 percent premium increase?
Here is a chart comparing the benefits that change from the current plan to the new one. Blue font means the benefit is better in the new plan, while red font means it is worse.
Two other changes: The current plan covers infertility treatment while the new one does not, and dental care for adults is included in the new plan but not the current one.
So are we better off? If one of us at NCPPR has a year with a lot of health care costs, the lower OOP limit in the new policy is good. But if one of us needs to see a primary-care physician or a specialist a few times, then the new policy is not better.
In short, it seems like a wash at best for us. And that is another reason why ObamaCare is in such trouble. If the law is going to force many people to lose plans they like, most of those people would at least prefer to get new plans that are better than the old ones. But it’s not at all clear that’s happening—and quite a bit of evidence that it is not. However, the Obama Administration and other ObamaCare supporters appear to be in denial about that. Maybe the denial will end come November. Then again, ObamaCare has been one big exercise in self-deception for its proponents, so who knows?