Thursday, August 26, 2010

Another day, another health insurance nightmare

A couple of days ago we blogged on Assurant Health having to lay off 130 people from its offices in Milwaukee and Plymouth, MN and just yesterday we found colleges scrambling to get themselves exempted from onerous ObamaCare rules that may outlaw certain health insurance plans they offer their students. And now today we learn of yet another health insurance provider that is facing layoffs, partially as a result of ObamaCare.

HealthMarkets, the North Richland Hills-based seller of health insurance, laid off 70 employees this month and expects to trim 180 more positions by the end of the first quarter of 2011, according to a recent federal filing.

In the Securities and Exchange Commission filing, HealthMarkets blamed the layoffs on "dropping enrollment levels experienced by the company's insurance subsidiaries," along with national healthcare reform and "related legislative developments."

HealthMarkets provides insurance plans to the self-employed, individuals and small businesses.

The filing did not disclose where the Aug. 10 layoffs occurred, and the company declined to comment further.

There is a common theme to these 3 situations and that is the endangerment of smaller health insurance providers and the low cost/low benefit plans in which they specialize for students, individuals and the self-employed that prefer these types of plans.

And we are again going to emphasize how badly top-down, command and control policies distort the market place. Younger college students are naturally healthier than older people, as such, they don't need the extent of coverage and quantity of benefits that they surely cannot afford. The same thing applies for individuals and the self-employed who choose these low cost/low benefit plans as it best suits their needs and circumstances.

You've heard us bitch about this before but we cannot understand why we are covered for alcohol and drug dependency treatment. It drives up the price of our premiums and to an extent presents a moral hazard with respect to potentially abusing drugs and alcohol. If we had a say in the matter we would eliminate that particular benefit.

The ability to customize or choose a plan that best fits one's needs and circumstances looks to be going the way of the Dodo bird because of ObamaCare where we will essentially be forced to carry around bulky, clunky and expensive plans full of crap that we don't want or need. And health insurance providers, seeing the handwriting on the wall of being forced to provide only these expensive plans that they know will kill them financially, are getting out in front of the bow wave by cutting costs via employee layoffs.

Again, how horrible is a piece of legislation that adds 20-30 million customers to an industry but where that same industry is still forced to layoff its employees?


Harrison said...

Blue Cross and Blue Shield will be raising premiums 20-29% in Kalifornia I read.

SarahB said...


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