My last post on Health Insurance Issues With Dave generated a lot of responses. Some people were frustrated with yet another under-publicized provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Some used my article as an opportunity to complain about the Democrats, in general, and the President, in particular. But the phone calls all went something like this:
Dave, OK I’m scared. This doesn’t apply to me, right? I’m grandfathered.
No, it does and you aren’t!
There was an excellent article about the rules to be eligible to retain grandfathered status in the August 8th Plain Dealer Forum Section. It was written by Michael P. Coyne. The article tied in so well with my blog and my clients’ concerns that I felt compelled to write a Letter to the Editor. This appeared Saturday, August 14th.
Michael P. Coyne’s article about “grandfathered” health plans (Forum, Sunday) shed some light on the challenges small businesses face with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Please let me add a real-world example.
A client called recently to verify that his plan still qualified as “grandfathered.” It didn’t. He employees about 25 skilled and semiskilled workers and has always provided health insurance. His June renewal with a major carrier included a rate increase of 23.7 percent. Luckily for his employees, another carrier with a little better coverage was less expensive. The employees won. The employer won. Everyone is happy — except Washington.
You lose your “grandfathered” status if you change insurance carriers.
“Why should I be punished?” my client asked. “They now have better coverage.”
The answer, of course, is simple. None of this is about coverage.
Is it really that simple? Yes. Unions can change insurance carriers without forfeiting their grandfathered status. Businesses can not. Will this affect the client’s employees and how he does business? Definitely. I’m positive that this legislation will have a significant impact on the payment and delivery of health care.
The rules may be written on the fly, but the outcome appears to be predetermined.
By the way, special thanks to those of you who followed ALL of the links in the last post. Even the most serious of topics needs a little levity.