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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"
Old 12-18-2006, 12:13 PM   #61
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"

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Originally Posted by donheff
That statement just convinced me that Ha Ha was correct.
What!? It's true. I am a very busy person. I don't get it. This is the first time I have ever joined a forum and I thought it would be fun to put some of my opionions out there, and maybe spark some debate.....Oh well, guess you can't win for losin'..... I thought there might be some people out there that agree with my opinions.
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"
Old 12-18-2006, 12:44 PM   #62
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"

I, for one, would like to hear what you have to say, mykids...

It's good to hear all sides of this discussions and you are obviously informed.

Please stick around...
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"
Old 12-18-2006, 01:49 PM   #63
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"

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Originally Posted by mykidslovedogs
What!? It's true. I am a very busy person. I don't get it. This is the first time I have ever joined a forum and I thought it would be fun to put some of my opionions out there, and maybe spark some debate.....Oh well, guess you can't win for losin'..... I thought there might be some people out there that agree with my opinions.
Your opinions are interesting but as Ha Ha said, you sound like a shill. Come clean with us about who you work for and we will be more comfortable. We have no problem with FinanceDude who is a financial Adviser -- but he was, and is, out front about it.

If you are just a guy who is interested in health care system - I apologize.
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"
Old 12-18-2006, 02:10 PM   #64
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"

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Originally Posted by mykidslovedogs
What!? It's true. I am a very busy person. I don't get it. This is the first time I have ever joined a forum and I thought it would be fun to put some of my opionions out there, and maybe spark some debate.....Oh well, guess you can't win for losin'..... I thought there might be some people out there that agree with my opinions.
I just think people like to know other people's backround to evaluate where they are coming from. Our culture at this forum favors those who tell a little about themselves before jumping into discussions. But I do appreciate that you have kept the discussion civil. You and I will probably disagree consistently as to the effectiveness of the "free market" and the need for a safety net. Nevertheless, values and politics aside, it is helpful to have an insurance agent participate in the health care discussions as you may have information regarding underwriting and cost (at least for Colorado) that is not readily available.

If you have a chance, I suggest reading the Lewin Group's cost and coverage estimates for the "Healthy Americans Act" that FIRE@51 linked to above. This plan keeps insurance companies in the mix, has a simple payment system, and provides near universal coverage. I am intrigued. The downside for you personally would be no more agent commissions.

How much of your business is health insurance? Group and individual? Do you sell other insurance products as well?
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"
Old 12-18-2006, 03:14 PM   #65
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"

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Originally Posted by donheff
Your opinions are interesting but as Ha Ha said, you sound like a shill. Come clean with us about who you work for and we will be more comfortable. We have no problem with FinanceDude who is a financial Adviser -- but he was, and is, out front about it.

If you are just a guy who is interested in health care system - I apologize.
Don - I am a self employed insurance agent licensed in the State of Colorado. I do not have my insurance tied to my company. I have an individual insurance plan, just like I stated before. I haven't been dishonest in any of my posts.
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"
Old 12-18-2006, 03:18 PM   #66
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"

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Originally Posted by Martha
How much of your business is health insurance? Group and individual? Do you sell other insurance products as well?
We sell primarily small and medium sized group benefit plans including health, life, dental, vision, disability, longterm care, and cafeteria plans. We are beginning to move into the individual and family market due to our foresight about the future of group benefits.
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"
Old 12-18-2006, 05:26 PM   #67
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"

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Originally Posted by Martha
I just think people like to know other people's backround to evaluate where they are coming from. Our culture at this forum favors those who tell a little about themselves before jumping into discussions. But I do appreciate that you have kept the discussion civil. You and I will probably disagree consistently as to the effectiveness of the "free market" and the need for a safety net. Nevertheless, values and politics aside, it is helpful to have an insurance agent participate in the health care discussions as you may have information regarding underwriting and cost (at least for Colorado) that is not readily available.
Martha,

In the state of Colorado, there are three main reasons why employer-sponsored benefits are twice as expensive as individual plans.

1.) They are guaranteed issue - Anyone with any health history can qualify without pre-existing condition limitations.

2.) Maternity coverage is mandated whether you need it or not.

3.) Adverse selection - Since prices are so high, the healthy tend to drop out of the group market leaving a large number of unhealthy people in the risk pool.

I read the Healthy Americans Act, and it has good intentions except for the following negative consequences:

1.) As you stated before, it doesn't address what happens to the unemployed. Since the unemployed might still have to have an indivdual plan, you can't eliminate individual products from the market.

2.) I don't think community rating is going to make the pricing that much better in the group market, because pricing already reflects guaranteed issue coverage and mandated maternity coverage, and community rating is not going to change that..it might bring the premiums down a little, but I don't believe it will be a significant difference. Sure, you take adverse selection out of the mix, but pricing will still have to take into account guaranteed issue and guaranteed maternity coverage. Therefore, you may be FORCING a large number of people to pay for coverage that they don't want, when they could have bought a cheaper plan on their own.

Why do I say this? Because currently, many small employers don't pay more than 50% of the employee's premium so SOME employees can still buy individual coverage for less than their half of the premium costs in the group market (especially if the employer only offers one plan choice and that plan happens to be a high-end plan). Are we going to FORCE employers to now pay 100% of the employee premium as well as 100% of the premiums for their dependents? If not, then are we going to FORCE all Americans to pay more for their dependents than they could have paid in the individual market? A lot of my clients save a fortune right now by placing their one or two healthy children on an individual plan vs. paying the difference for the family rate on a group plan.

3.)The "Standard" plan is a pretty rich plan, and compared to many other types of plans (high deductible, etc..., it is pretty pricey. If I am healthy, and I don't need such a rich benefit, why should I be forced to buy into it? Granted, my employer might pay 50% of the premiums for my coverage but my half might still be more expensive than an individual high deductible policy might be.

These are just some of my thoughts....my opinions...
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"
Old 12-18-2006, 06:34 PM   #68
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"

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Originally Posted by mykidslovedogs
We sell primarily small and medium sized group benefit plans including health, life, dental, vision, disability, longterm care, and cafeteria plans. We are beginning to move into the individual and family market due to our foresight about the future of group benefits.
That wasn't so hard, was it? Sounds like this area is your work and your passion and you just want to speak from your experience. Sorry for the cold shoulder. Don't just stay with what you know - join in some other threads.
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"
Old 12-18-2006, 07:42 PM   #69
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"

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Originally Posted by mykidslovedogs
Martha,

In the state of Colorado, there are three main reasons why employer-sponsored benefits are twice as expensive as individual plans.

1.) They are guaranteed issue - Anyone with any health history can qualify without pre-existing condition limitations.

2.) Maternity coverage is mandated whether you need it or not.

3.) Adverse selection - Since prices are so high, the healthy tend to drop out of the group market leaving a large number of unhealthy people in the risk pool.
Give me figures on the extent the healthy drop out of the group market and go to the individual market. I haven't read about that as a significant trend. We do have young, single healthy people sometimes forgoing insurance, but that effects group and individual markets the same. Also, I have read various studies indicating that people tend not to be on individual policies for very long. Same for the risk pools oddly enough. People don't stay on them long term.

True, individual plans are cheaper for young healthy people who are not going to have children, but the older you get the more expensive they are. The compromise is to pay a bit more when you are young and healthy to get coverage for you and your family for life.

Quote:
I read the Healthy Americans Act, and it has good intentions except for the following negative consequences:

1.) As you stated before, it doesn't address what happens to the unemployed. Since the unemployed might still have to have an indivdual plan, you can't eliminate individual products from the market.
The unemployed work directly through the state administrator to sign up for insurance and premiums are paid through their taxes. If they are low income enough not to have to file tax returns, the assumption is that their premium would be totally subsidized.

Quote:
2.) I don't think community rating is going to make the pricing that much better in the group market, because pricing already reflects guaranteed issue coverage and mandated maternity coverage, and community rating is not going to change that..it might bring the premiums down a little, but I don't believe it will be a significant difference. Sure, you take adverse selection out of the mix, but pricing will still have to take into account guaranteed issue and guaranteed maternity coverage. Therefore, you may be FORCING a large number of people to pay for coverage that they don't want, when they could have bought a cheaper plan on their own.
The groups in the Wyden plan will be 10,000 or more. These size groups are the cheapest to insure because of spreading the risk. The Lewin report gives estimates for estimated costs of insuring groups of that size. Yes, some people who are very young and healthy may pay more through taxes than they would an individual policy. But, they are guaranteed coverage for life. Additionally, you don't pay your entire premium, part is subsidized by charges to employers which I mentioned in a previous post. Remember, the individual/family nongroup market is only 4% of the entire market. In contrast we have 15+% of people in the US who are unisured. So we force a few people to pay more in taxes to get more heath insurance than they want--doesn't look like a huge problem to me.

Quote:
Why do I say this? Because currently, many small employers don't pay more than 50% of the employee's premium so SOME employees can still buy individual coverage for less than their half of the premium costs in the group market (especially if the employer only offers one plan choice and that plan happens to be a high-end plan). Are we going to FORCE employers to now pay 100% of the employee premium as well as 100% of the premiums for their dependents? If not, then are we going to FORCE all Americans to pay more for their dependents than they could have paid in the individual market? A lot of my clients save a fortune right now by placing their one or two healthy children on an individual plan vs. paying the difference for the family rate on a group plan.
Are you sure you read Wyden's plan? This is not how it works. Employers pay a charge based upon their revenues and the number of FTE jobs. This charge is pretty small for small employers. See the Lewin report.

Quote:
3.)The "Standard" plan is a pretty rich plan, and compared to many other types of plans (high deductible, etc..., it is pretty pricey. If I am healthy, and I don't need such a rich benefit, why should I be forced to buy into it? Granted, my employer might pay 50% of the premiums for my coverage but my half might still be more expensive than an individual high deductible policy might be.

These are just some of my thoughts....my opinions...
If you don't require everyone to participate we are back to adverse selection problems. By requiring all to participate costs will go down in the system. Yes there likely tradeoffs, but given the guarantee of health insurance throughout your life, guaranty that your family will be covered, an easy payment system with a tax credit, I think the tradeoffs could be worth it. I like the subsidy system with no premium due if you make less than the poverty level, and premiums phased in after that. We also may have insurance companies competing on price rather than competing for the healthy.

I still have not formed a final opinion, but the Lewin analysis was encouraging.
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"
Old 12-18-2006, 10:03 PM   #70
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"

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Originally Posted by OldMcDonald
But david-in-SC already told us all we need to know - its a "typical liberal (socialistic) plan"...enough said. How can you dispute a well thought out argument like that?

Yeah . . . let's all start pooping right now.
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"
Old 12-18-2006, 10:17 PM   #71
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"

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Originally Posted by mykidslovedogs
. . .By the way, I think it's better to annuitize than to pay off your mortgage.....
Well, that does it. I was reading your posts but if that's the way you feel, then you have no credibility. You probably waste dryer sheets too, don't you.
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"
Old 12-18-2006, 10:57 PM   #72
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"

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Originally Posted by Martha
Give me figures on the extent the healthy drop out of the group market and go to the individual market. I haven't read about that as a significant trend. We do have young, single healthy people sometimes forgoing insurance, but that effects group and individual markets the same.
Here is some statistical information that you might find helpful:

http://www.nahu.org/legislative/unin...dfactsheet.pdf

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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"
Old 12-18-2006, 11:06 PM   #73
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"

And here is another article that might interest you:

http://www.nahu.org/legislative/mark...kets_paper.pdf
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"
Old 12-18-2006, 11:09 PM   #74
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"

And here's some information on that Massachusetts reform:

I have no opion yet on how this is going to turn out:

http://www.nahu.org/legislative/mark...CareReform.pdf

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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"
Old 12-19-2006, 12:53 AM   #75
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"

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Originally Posted by Martha
Are you sure you read Wyden's plan? This is not how it works. Employers pay a charge based upon their revenues and the number of FTE jobs. This charge is pretty small for small employers. See the Lewin report.
Oops! I must have clicked the wrong link cuz I read the summarized version and not the full version. But, here are a coupls things I still don't get about the HAA plan. How in the world did they come up with the figures for the estimated National Average Premium? Those figures seem very low for such a rich plan with a low $250.00 deductible and only $15.00 office visit and the $10.00 copay for up to 90-day supply of generic prescriptions. I think they might be underestimating the risk to insurers on loss ratios, but, then again, I don't have any statistics to back that up.

If employers are only going to pay a percentage of the National Average Premium, then it Is going to be the higher income families making up for the difference and being forced to pay extra for coverage for their dependents that they would not have otherwise had to pay. I didn't see where these folks would have an income tax reduction in other areas, so I am assuming that they will pay more for their health insurance AS WELL as pay the same or more taxes that they already pay.

Why not get rid of Medicaid as the HAA proposes, but instead of FORCING people to participate, just provide tax incentives, similar to what the HAA proposes, for buying insurance and allow people to choose their own plans? If you don't participate, you don't get the tax break. Providing tax incentives would likely help eliminate a HUGE percent of the uninsured market. With a larger population of insureds, rates would inevitably come down, making risk-pool coverage much more affordable for the "uninsurable". I realize that this may not seem fair to the uninsurable, but they account for such a tiny segment of the population...Besides, the government could still offer risk-pool coverage on a national, instead of state level and subsidize it on a sliding scale. Surely, a system like that would be much less costly for the folks paying the majority of taxes (those making over $50,000/yr.). This is because many of the the people who are healthy (the majority of people) will choose plans that are less expensive than the HAA proposed "Standard Plan". They would have incentive to do that, because their taxes would be lower if they choose a higher deductible plan.
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"
Old 12-19-2006, 07:38 AM   #76
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"


Quote:
Quote from: mykidslovedogs on December 17, 2006, 11:37:00 PM
. . .By the way, I think it's better to annuitize than to pay off your mortgage.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by sgeeeee
Well, that does it. I was reading your posts but if that's the way you feel, then you have no credibility. You probably waste dryer sheets too, don't you.
OMG another take on the annuity argument. I have to pursue this one. I have some fixed income assets sitting around waiting to pay off the primary mortgage when DW retires. I never thought of using a fixed SPIA to cover it instead - thereby getting the tax break and the offset in expenses.

Does the math really work MKLD?
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"
Old 12-19-2006, 08:07 AM   #77
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"

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Originally Posted by donheff
Don't just stay with what you know - join in some other threads.
Yeah most people on here talk about stuff they know nothing about.
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"
Old 12-19-2006, 08:09 AM   #78
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"

I'm not an investments specialst so you're asking the wrong person. I'm just your average, everyday investor just like anyone else. My career is in the health insurance industry, not in in investment and financial advising industry. If you want to talk finances, you need to talk with my husband, and business partner. He's the one who is Series 6 licensed.
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"
Old 12-19-2006, 08:28 AM   #79
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"

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Originally Posted by Martha
Are you sure you read Wyden's plan? This is not how it works. Employers pay a charge based upon their revenues and the number of FTE jobs. This charge is pretty small for small employers. See the Lewin report.
There's one more thing I wanted to go over with you, but I was too sleepy last night to get into it...
It seems like the HAA model assumes that the cost of brokers is tangible. Basically, they assume that all commission money is just basically wasted money, so if they eliminate that cost, all the better for Americans, right? However many people really don't understand what brokers do. We don't just simply make a sale, collect our commisison and then sit back and do nothing. We are extremely actively involved in administrative tasks such as taking care of enrollments, terminations, and billing and claim issues. In fact, we act as a surrogate HR department for many of our small employers that we do business with.

My shop employes four people, including myself and my husband. Two of our employees do nothing but service work and administrative tasks. The HAA model does not take into account that the goverment is going to have to pick up on all of those costs. Sure, it says that the goverment will now be the ones doing all enrollments, but I think they are underestimating the costs of keeping track of enrollments, explaining people's coverage to them, etc...as well as keeping track of terminations, sending people their letters of termination and notifications, making sure it is all done properly, etc....not to mention helping out with claims issues. Often times, we prevent the insurance company from having to deal with confused people who don't understand how a claim was paid, and we totally take that burden off of the insurance companies, and we eat that cost as part of our cost of doing business.

Also, Brokers are among the top wage earners in the country. We are some of the few making more than $50,000/year (remember? the one's who subsidize your low income folks?). My shop grosses about $200,000/yr, and after paying our employees and expenses, our family income is around $75,000. If you take away our jobs, you not only force thousands of brokers into unemployment, but also all of their employees as well.

You also create unemployment for all of the sales staff and underwriters at all of the insurance companies. There will be no need for them because of guarantee issue of all coverage. This model does not seem to take into consideration the impact of the unemployment it is going to create.
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"
Old 12-19-2006, 08:52 AM   #80
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Re: Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans"

Mykids,

I suspect the fact that you and your employees might have to find other work does not generate much sympathy from the hundreds of thousands of workers who have lost their jobs to overseas workers in IT, manufacturing or other industries.

Change is constant and all who fail to adapt to it are setting themselves up for an unpleasant future.

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