January 4, 2011

Health Care Law Hits Seniors, Retirees

Americans Already Feeling Consequences Of New Law That Cuts $500 Billion From Medicare And Causes Insurance Premiums To Climb

Loss Of Medicare Advantage Plans, Loss Of Insurance For Retirees

“3M Co. Confirmed It Would Eventually Stop Offering Its Health-Insurance Plan To Retirees, Citing The Federal Health Overhaul As A Factor.” (“3M To Change Health-Plan Options For Workers,” The Wall Street Journal, 10/4/10)

“Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Has Notified Customers That It Will Drop Its Medicare Advantage Health Insurance Program At The End Of The Year, Forcing 22,000 Senior Citizens In Massachusetts, New Hampshire, And Maine To Seek Alternative Supplemental Coverage. The decision by Wellesley-based Harvard Pilgrim, the state’s second-largest health insurer, was prompted by a freeze in federal reimbursements and a new requirement that insurers offering the kind of product sold by Harvard Pilgrim — a Medicare Advantage private fee for service plan — form a contracted network of doctors who agree to participate for a negotiated amount of money.” (“Harvard Pilgrim Cancels Medicare Advantage Plan,” The Boston Globe, 9/28/10)

Lynn Bowman, Vice President Of Customer Service At Harvard Pilgrim’s Office In Quincy: “We Know That Cuts In Medicare Are Being Used To Fund National Health Care Reform." Ibid

“Higher Than Anticipated” Medical Bills, “Unaffordable” Premiums

“One Of The First Parts Of The New Health Care Law Ready For Consumers - Special Health Plans Devoted To The Insurance Industry's Rejects - Is Attracting Only A Fraction Of The Predicted Customers, Prompting The Obama Administration And States To Step Up Their Strategies To Motivate People To Buy Them.”(“Health Plans For High-Risk Patients Attracting Fewer, Costing More Than Expected,” The Washington Post, 12/28/10)

“At The Same Time, Since The Plans Opened For Business In The Late Summer And Early Fall, The Medical Bills So Far Are, In At Least A Few States, Much Higher Than Anticipated, Raising The Question Of Whether $5 Billion That Congress Has Devoted To The Program Could Run Out Even If Relatively Few People Join.” Ibid

“State-Level Directors Of The Plans Agree, In Part. But In Interviews, They Also Said That The Insurance Premiums Are Unaffordable For Some Who Need The Coverage - and that some would-be customers are skittish about the plans' stability as federal lawsuits and congressional Republicans are trying to overturn the entire law.” Ibid

“Increased Health Insurance Premiums As A Result Of Higher Costs Associated With The Health Care Reform Law”

“AARP's Endorsement Helped Secure Passage Of President Barack Obama's Health Care Overhaul. Now The Seniors' Lobby Is Telling Its Employees Their Insurance Costs Will Rise Partly As A Result Of The Law.” (“Citing Health Overhaul, AARP Hikes Employee Costs,” The Associated Press, 11/4/10)

“In An E-Mail To Employees, AARP Says Health Care Premiums Will Increase By 8 Percent To 13 Percent Next Year Because Of Rapidly Rising Medical Costs.” Ibid

“Blue Cross And Blue Shield Of Nebraska Estimates That The New [Health Care] Law Will Cause Premiums To Increase By 1 Percent To 5 Percent For Next Year, while Omaha-based benefit consultant Kim Lobato of Aon Risk Solutions is seeing the middle part of that range, about 2 percent or 3 percent.” (“Health Care Law Gives Booster Shot To Premiums,” Omaha World-Herald, 11/14/10)

“Caterpillar Inc. Employees Will Face Increased Health Insurance Premiums As A Result Of Higher Costs Associated With The Health Care Reform Law Adopted Earlier This Year. For some employees, premiums for family coverage will increase by $41 a month, beginning Jan. 1. Even employee-only coverage will increase $5 a month, said a memo to management and salaried personnel that went out Thursday.” (“Caterpillar Raising Health Care Premiums,” Peoria Journal Star, 10/28/10)

“Aerospace Giant Boeing Is Joining The List Of Companies That Say The New Health Care Law Could Have A Potential Downside For Their Workers. In A Letter Mailed To Employees Late Last Week, The Company Cited The Overhaul As Part Of The Reason It Is Asking Some 90,000 Nonunion Workers To Pay Significantly More For Their Health Plan Next Year. A copy of the letter was obtained Monday by The Associated Press.” (“Citing Health Care Law, Boeing Pares Employee Plan,” AP, 10/18/10)

Forced Changes To Health Care Insurance Plans

“The Principal Financial Group Announced On Thursday That It Planned To Stop Selling Health Insurance, Another Sign Of Upheaval Emerging Among Insurers As The New Federal Health Law Starts To Take Effect. The Company, Based In Iowa, Provides Coverage To About 840,000 People Who Receive Their Insurance Through An Employer.” (“Insurer Cuts Health Plans As New Law Takes Hold,” The New York Times, 10/1/10)

“At The Principal Financial Group, The Company’s Decision Reflected Its Assessment Of Its Ability To Compete In The Environment Created By The New Law. ‘Now scale really matters,’ said Daniel J. Houston, a senior executive at Principal, which is headquartered in Des Moines. ‘We don’t have a significant concentration in any one market.'” Ibid

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