Category: ACA and Policy

Category: ACA and Policy, Government Programs, Health Insurance

The ACA Goes to Court, Part 237!  (Ok, I’m not really counting)

A little over 10 years ago, I was sitting in a tiny hotel room in Washington, D.C., waiting for a phone call from a friend who is a lobbyist for our Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. It was Christmas Eve 2009, and we were awaiting the final vote of the U.S. Senate on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). I remember very clearly thinking that there was nothing to stop the then-Democratic majority from passing the ACA. Certainly, they had put a ton of work, time and effort into the law. But — they put much less time into gaining the trust of the opposition.

I also remember thinking, “Are they really going to redirect 20% of the nation’s economy and create millions of new winners and losers on a straight party-line vote, without a single compromise to bring some of the opposition into the tent?”

Well, they did. And at that moment, a quote from the Roman Orator Cicero jumped into my head unbidden: “Endless monies form the sinews of endless warfare.” And it did. Warfare through the courts, apparently. Read more

Category: ACA and Policy, Cost of Healthcare, Health Insurance

SHOW ME THE MONEY!

One of the more interesting things the Affordable Care Act did to the private health insurance business was to tell health insurance companies that the Feds were now in control of their profit margins. What does that mean?

Imagine you are the CEO of your own health insurance company. In fact, let’s call it Your Own Health Insurance Company, or YOHIC for short! How do you think you would feel if YOHIC collected $1 billion in premiums over a year, but only had to pay out $500 million in healthcare costs? Sounds like YOHIC is doing really well, turning a 50% profit. Does YOHIC get to keep the rest of the premiums for its own payroll and profits?

Since 2010, the answer to that question is a resounding NO! Read more

Category: ACA and Policy, Cost of Healthcare, Government Programs, Health Insurance

Turning 26 Is Like Landing on an Alien Planet

It’s the eve of your 26th birthday, you must take your first steps into this alien world alone. For 25 years, you’ve lived in safety on the Mother Ship, er, your parents’ health insurance plan. PPOs, HMOs, cost shares and deductibles weren’t even on your radar.

What should you (or your kid who is turning 26) do? Healthcare Economist Mike Bertaut explains your options. Read more

Category: ACA and Policy, Cost of Healthcare, Government Programs, Health and Wellness, Health Insurance

Podcast #9 | Don’t Delay Care, Payments to Hospitals, Elective Procedures

Welcome to our first podcast in the age of COVID-19. In this podcast, Mike and his producer, Lindsey, talk about what has changed at Blue Cross (about 90% of our employees are working from home), along with how we’ve adjusted programs and services for our members. And, he talks about what hasn’t changed — our commitment to continue serving our customers.

Mike explains why it’s vital to continue seeking treatment for regular health concerns. Emergencies like heart attacks and appendicitis don’t stop in the face of a public health crisis, but more Americans are delaying care for them, at a great risk. Mike discusses how telehealth can help you figure out if and when you need to head to the hospital. Read more

Category: ACA and Policy, Cost of Healthcare, Health Insurance

Podcast 8 | HIT tax, stopping the bleeding and what happens if the ACA falls

In this episode of the Straight Talk podcast (23:32), Mike sits down to answer some questions from readers.

Mike takes on your tough questions, including how the Health Insurance Tax is affecting your premiums (hint: they are taking a hit, but there are other factors that can cause your rates to go up. Mike spells them out).
Read more