Well, to be fair, I'd never heard of it, either, but apparently some folks can elect to have their former employers actually pay for their COBRA plans (nice!). The downside is that when COBRA runs out, it's not considered a Special Open Enrollment trigger.
■ From our friends at Cornerstone, the newest info on this year's HSA contribution limits, which basically decrease the max effect family maximum $6,900 to $6,850. Not necessarily the end of the world, but every dollar counts.
■ FoIB Holly R alerts us that Badger State governor Scott Walker has signed "SB770, intended to control health insurance costs by implementing a state reinsurance plan that would pay as much as 80 percent of insurance claims of individuals with high medical bills."
Health Agents for America (HAFA) president Ronnell Nolan produces a series of vlogs (basically video blogs) about various issues that we deal with every day. Recently, she posted this one. Please watch (it's only a few minutes long) and then I'll share our discussion about it:
HAFA Reports: HAFA-NH BEWARE Anthem Contact Pulled..... - YouTube
This agency, which had apparently brought a lot of business to Anthem's table, was summarily excused from it. This is not in dispute. Where Ms Nolan and I part ways is in her characterization:
I pointed out that Anthem was well within its rights to execute the contract's cancellation clause, as would be any carrier (and, of course, agents are also free to bail at their discretion). To which Ms Nolan replied:
"Most Agent/Brokers do not know contracts can be cancelled at will. Goes back to the question....whose customer is it. After I bring the company to you....you have a right to discard me?"
As I responded, when I request appointment with a carrier I also agree to abide by the terms of their contract (which is supplied to me and which I of course read from cover to cover). And yes, I did bring them my customer/client. Which client, by the way, I am free to move to another carrier in the future, and there's nothing that Anthem (et al) can do about that.
Understandably, Ms Nolan wasn't entirely satisfied with this take, and pointed out that it's "Not wrong by contract you are right. But morally wrong."
Perhaps, although as I just pointed out, it's a two-way street: am I "morally wrong" when I move clients from one carrier to another?
The bottom line is that while I in no way condone Anthem's actions here, I'm not seeing anything illegal or even "wrong" in what they've done. Reprehensible, probably, but not wrong.
Several years ago, my daughters traveled to Vancouver (because reasons) and stayed in an AirBnB. What I most recall about the experience was that the hostess insisted upon "meeting" them on Skype and interviewing them to see if they'd be a 'fit.' Having stayed in numerous traditional Bed & Breakfasts myself, this struck me as both odd *and** sensible.
Apparently, not every such host goes that extra mile, and to their detriment. FoIB Tsrblke alerts us:
There is no question that insurance companies, primarily as a result of the politics and economics of ObamaCare, contribute less value and drive more out-of-pocket than ever before. And it's also true that Direct Primary Care (DPC) continues to offer a viable alternative method of health care delivery and (to a much lesser extent) health care financing.
But I'm concerned that DPC proponents are, as the saying goes, becoming the abyss:
And this is becoming a real problem. Regular readers know we have no compunction about calling out Stupid Carrier Tricks, but the fact is, insurance can (and does) play a uniquely vital role in most people's ability to afford catastrophic health care expenses.
Yes, re-introducing true Cat plans would be a tremendous step in the right direction, but we don't have that yet, and aren't likely to any time soon (more's the pity).
But the fanatical DPC Brigade risks losing whatever credibility it's built up by ignoring the actual costs of major claims and presuming that regular folks can bear the brunt of them. #Sad
Civis Analytics (CA), a firm started by 2012 Obama campaign veterans, conducted a telephone opinion survey February 28 about American policy priorities. Powerline reported their results here, and Vox, here.
The first chart shows responses of likely Democratic voters - whose top priority if Democrats take control of the White House and Congress in 2020, is “health care”! Really? Because Obamacare didn't work? Because this time, they’ll fix it fer shur?
Reminds me of an old Flip Wilson punch line: “Hell no, you broke yours off already!”
The second chart shows responses to the same questions, only this time the sample group is all likely voters – in other words, not just Democrats. Notice how the percentages change from the first chart to the second. The second chart reveals far less less support to “health care”.
Yet Civis Analytics has this to say: “Democratic voters, and voters in general, seem very clear in their preference that health care come first.” Vox opines that “the numbers are strikingly similar, with answers more concentrated around health care and guns”. Really? Voters in general? Strikingly similar??
I don’t think so. I say CA and Vox have it wrong. I say Powerline has it right: “the results skew when all likely voters—not just Democrats—are reported”. How much does it skew? Assuming CA surveyed roughly equal numbers of likely Democratic and non-Democratic voters, the results in the two charts imply about 17% support for “health care” among likely non-Democratic voters. Do 45% and 17% seem strikingly similar to you? Do 45% and 17% tell you that these numbers measure underlying agreement?
Of course not. CA and Vox both err in looking at the average of the combined surveys as though that average reflects unified public opinion. It’s an error because the responses of the two survey populations show a clear and sharp difference of opinion about “health care”. Therefore it’s false to claim the overall average represents any general preference. CA’s conclusion is like claiming that, on average, Americans have one testicle and one ovary. It’s only “true” when you ignore the reality underneath the average.
Yet despite Civis Analytics’ (and Vox’s) equivocations, I think the CA survey does reveal two important truths – (1) “health care” remains a divisive issue among Americans and (2) the division still appears to have more to do with politics than with the actual substance of “health care”.
Well, it actually involves The Lone Star State (and 19 of its closest buds), The Constitution, and the law. Severability simply means that if one part of a particular law is deemed unenforceable, the rest of it could still be fine. But its absence would mean that if one part is tossed, then the rest is, too (baby, bathwater, you understand). Most legislation includes a "severability clause" that essentially says "hey, even if Part 2 is deemed non-enforceable, the rest of this law still stands." It's pretty standard wording.
The theory behind the suit is that, since Justice Roberts (et al) deemed the Mandate 'kosher' as a funding mechanism, and since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 explicitly set that funding at $0, the entire platform on which ObamaCare was built is null-and-void.
Whoa there, Henry, went a little fast there, didn't you?
Okay, remember that "severability clause:" we discussed? Well: