Monday, December 16, 2013
Buy 11, Get 1 Free!
Some people just know how to shop. You and I may pay retail, but they always seem to find the best deals. And if they have to cut a corner or two? Well, they’ve got great scissors.
We are in the middle of our first open enrollment under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or Obamacare). Applications received by December 23, 2013 will generate new policies as of January 1, 2014. Preexisting conditions will be covered. There is no requirement of prior coverage.
Our current policies, operating under the old set of rules, have a 30 day grace period. It didn’t take long for many of my sharpest clients to realize that paying for December is now optional. If they get sick or injured in December, they will pay their premiums and file their claims. If they don’t have a claim in December, they will let the old policy lapse and start anew in January.
Ethical? Of course not. Legal? You bet. In fact, this is just one more step in our inevitable march off the cliff. Shorting the insurers and making private major medical health insurance unsustainable are part of the campaign that will lead us to Single Payer.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) isn’t just writing rules and regulations on the fly. Last week, in a conference call for journalists, Director Kathleen Sebelius and her team revealed a new set of fixes and recommendations.
All of these recommendations are designed to make the transition to the PPACA smoother by bending the rules at the expense of the insurers.
The government now expects the insurers to cheerfully accept the initial payments as late as January 1st. There is even a push to move that initial due date through the first week or so of January. And next year’s grace period will be 60 days. Please don’t expect that same flexibility from the IRS.
Health insurance policies may include lists of Preferred Providers, doctors and hospitals participating in a network, and prescription drug formularies, lists of covered drugs. HHS is asking the insurers to bend (IGNORE) their own rules during the transition. Is this push out of concern for sick Americans or an effort to avoid more horror stories on the 6 PM news?
The answer is obvious. This has never been about sick people. This has always been about money and politics. The doctors, hospitals, and drug companies want our money. The politicians want our money and our votes. Health is hardly a consideration.
So whether they want to or not, the insurers are having a sale. I’m going to pay my December premium. I’m just that way. Buy you? You may choose to pay for eleven and get one free.