As of November 2013, Obamacare is a mess. Unfortunately, it appears that the mess will only be getting worse as the months pass. Why? On Friday, November 8, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius put into place new regulations that now make it necessary for insurers to cover mental/behavioral health concerns the same way they cover physical concerns.
The problem is that identifying a broken bone tends to be a lot easier than identifying a broken mind . . .
What Does This Mean For Me?
It’s pretty much an established fact that Obamacare is raising premiums for many Americans. Unfortunately, these new regulations will only cause health insurance premiums to go up even more. The reason is because they permit people with mental health issues (be it depression, addiction or whatnot) to take advantage of subsidies. And it just so happens that the cost of such subsidies wind up getting passed on to taxpayers like yourself.
Surely, everybody wants the mentally ill to get the health they need. However, these new regulations come with very few limits, meaning the chance for fraud is extraordinarily high. Consider for instance what would happen if food stamp requirements were lowered:
“Hunger is also a social problem, and the government provides food stamps to help. But what would happen if the government removed limits, both in the amount of funds and duration of benefits, and allowed recipients to have all the food stamps they wanted for as long as they wanted them? Would such a program be ripe for abuse? That’s what the president is doing with mental health.” ~~ Forbes
So basically, unless you yourself are eligible for subsidies, your premiums are likely to go up even more. And it doesn’t help that the Obamacare website is so screwed up right now that you can’t even check if you are eligible or not!
Is There Any Good News At All?
The only good news is that these increased costs will for the most part come with enhanced services like the following:
- Absolutely free preventative services like cholesterol checks, colonoscopies, mammograms, flu shots, etc.
- The ability to keep kids under the age of 26 on your insurance policy.
- No referrals required to see a gynecologist.
- Free maternity care and birth control.
Like we said, though, this all comes at increased prices. For instance, research conducted by Aon Hewitt determined that the average employee will spend a tad under $5,000 on premiums and out-of-pocket expenses next year. That unfortunately amounts to a 9.5% increase from last year. These stats refer to just one corporation, but they are a microcosm of what’s occurring with companies throughout the nation.
However, if you suffer from pre-existing conditions, then you will likely actually end up paying less. This is because Obamacare goes out of its way to protect people with such conditions from being charged higher premiums. Unfortunately, though, these benefits get offset onto health taxpayers.
Will Things Get Better In Time?
The thing to keep in mind is that Obamacare was built for long-term sustainability. As an example, it implements a slew of efficiency-based regulations that streamline overly burdensome, complex and pricey procedures so that they’re more effective and cost-effective.
Obamacare also limits “how much money insurers can siphon off for premiums and overhead.” Some insurance providers like the very ethical Kanetix don’t engage in such shady behavior, but sadly many do. And it just so happens that Obamacare protects you from such practices.
The bottom line is that your premiums are likely to go up and down in a roller coaster for a few years. Right now, though, they’re most likely to just go up. How long will it take for the premiums to go down? Will they ever go down? And will you end up better off? For these questions, all we can unfortunately do right now is simply wait.