Health Insurance in 2017: One Foot on the dock…One Foot in the Canoe

Fact of life: The Republican nominee won in November and was inaugerated on January 20th. Nothing is going to change that, so all of us must move on with our lives, look ahead and concentrate on doing what is best for ourselves and our families, control what we can control and worry less about things out of our control.

As the new administration in Washington considers its options regarding changes to current health insurance law, ignore most of what you read or hear coming from news papers, TV, and on-line media (unless it’s from me, of course), because way too much of it is speculation and BS designed to keep you coming back, agitated, or pushing you to buy the soap they are selling.

Always remember, the Washington, D.C., crowd are first and foremost Politicians. Listen to what they say but watch them to see what they do. The two don’t always equal each other. (Keep that in mind when the next election rolls around.)

I expect to see a series of immediate steps rolling back the most unpopular aspects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Acts (Obamacare)…the tax penalty for not buying health insurance, the closed annual enrollment period, forced coverage for maternity/juvenile vision/dental care on all health insurance plans regardless one’s circumstances.

I expect to see leaving current health insurance policies in a status quo position until at least 2017 year end, to avoid the disruption which would occur otherwise.

I expect to see a return to more traditional health insurance underwriting criteria, allowing insurance companies to offer their products in exchange for a more rational purchase price, thus allowing competition to return to the markerplace…and present premiums to decrease over time.

I expect to see a separate safetynet program for those having significant health issues which, in the past, would have prevented them from obtaining health insurance.
Pre-Obamacare, most states had safetynet programs, but most of such were severely underfunded.

Please keep in mind that owning health insurance is not a right. Keep in mind also, access to Health Care, rather than health insurance, was mandated by federal law years prior to Obamacare.

I expect you will hear a lot about being able to buy health insurance across state lines. That is a self-defeating course of action. Consider, if the same health insurance plan costs less in Utah than in Florida, why is that? It is because health insurance claims are less in Utah than in Florida. If a ton of Florida residents were to buy the Utah insurance because of its lower relative premiums, in a short time Utah’s claims experience increase because Florida’s health care costs are higher. The Utah policy’s claims rerserve would shrink,(because Utah’s health care claims are lower and the Utah policy’s premiums are based on Utah’s health care costs, not Florida’s health care costs)….end result, premiums for the Utah policy will increase sharply. Better course of action is to allow the marketplace and competition work to reduce premiums in the future.

For now, we must wait to see what is next on the health insurance horizon. Frankly, I hope to see a return to the health insurance marketplace as it existed pre-Obamacare, with the addition of an option for those whose health history barred them from obtaining health insurance in the past. Options could be some form of means tested Medicaid with levels of assistance based on ability to pay. As medicaid is a state/federal partnership, some federal dollars could be block-granted to participating states to help off-set the added costs such a program would create. I also favor the fed’s transferring health insurance matters back to the states where it belongs. Prior to the advent of Obamacare, administration of insurance matters rested with the several states, not with the federal government…see the 10th Amendment.

Carpe Diem