Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
PSA
Member Login

Posted: 7/21/2010 5:40:54 AM EDT
We can't even keep the change...

State tells employees health insurance will rocket

State and university employees with families can expect to see their monthly health-insurance costs rise as much as 37 percent next year, depending on the type of plan they choose.

Figures provided by the Arizona Department of Administration show that health plans for families and single adults with children will shoulder the most-expensive monthly premium increases beginning Jan. 1, while individuals will pay modest increases.

The Department of Administration cited federal health reform as the reason the state's health plans will carry "greater expenses and higher premiums for members," according to a June 30 letter sent to about 135,000 state and university employees and their dependents.

The letter named two provisions that the state expects will drive health-insurance costs higher. One is a requirement that insurance plans provide coverage for dependent children up to age 26. The other is the federal legislation's ban on lifetime limits, an insurance-industry practice that cuts coverage once an individual's medical expenses exceed a set amount over their lifetime.

Because the state is one of Arizona's largest providers of health insurance, its estimates could provide an early glimpse of how large employers will pass along health-reform costs to their employees.

Industry analysts say it is too early to tell how much health reform will impact the cost of insurance. Some estimates expect the initial impact on overall cost will be less than 2 percent. Many analysts agree that the true impact won't be known until 2014, when health-insurance exchanges are established to extend coverage to the estimated 32 million Americans who now lack health insurance.

"I don't know if anybody really knows what the (impact) on costs will be," said Don Mollihan, a broker and consultant with Arizona Benefit Consultants. "The entire (health-insurance) industry is trying to react to the reform as regulations are implemented. That is where the rubber meets the road."

One example is the Obama administration's requirement, unveiled this month, that all health-insurance plans cover preventive care free of charge. Such no-charge preventive care ranges from autism screening to colorectal-cancer screening for adults over age 50 to folic-acid supplements for pregnant women.

"The preventive-care requirements could add some costs, but a lot of (insurers) are already providing those services as part of their core" plans, said Patricia "Corki" Larsen, a principal with human-resources consultant Mercer in Phoenix.

Alan Ecker, Department of Administration spokesman, said health reform is "responsible for all increases for employee premiums" next year.

He noted that federal health reform passed after the Legislature approved funding for next year's state's health plan, so with no money left in the state coffers to cover the mandated changes to health insurance plans, the state opted to shift costs to employees.

Varying impact

The state pays for most of the premium costs, with the employee picking up a portion of the premium costs. Also, changes in premiums do not reflect other cost-shifting measures, such as increases in co-payments that people must pay when visiting a doctor or filling a drug prescription.

University and state employees who get state-sponsored coverage just for themselves won't see much of an increase in their premiums: about $1 each month under three plans offered by the state.

Increases in employee premiums for plans that cover couples and families will range from $22 to $43 a month.

Single adults with children will see those premiums increase 37 percent for an Aetna insurance plan that includes a health-savings account. The Aetna family plan and the Aetna plan for two adults will also each rise more than 20 percent. Employees who choose the state's EPO and other plans similar to an HMO for families and adults with children also will see their monthly payments rise more than 22 percent.

Dispute over letter

Yet, even as Gov. Jan Brewer's administration cited health reform as the chief reason for cost increases, the state's health-insurance premiums for employees have increased at even faster clips in the past.

In fact, employee premiums for five of eight plans next year will increase at a lower rate than they did this year.

Some lawmakers questioned the Brewer's administration's decision to send out a letter that blames health reform for the premium increases.

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix, who sat on President Barack Obama's health-reform task force, blasted the Department of Administration's letter as politically motivated.

"The Department of Administration is implying that entire increase is a result of the new health-care law," Sinema said. "It is clearly a politically motivated letter that is just not factually accurate."

Ecker, of the Department of Administration, denied any political motivation. He saw no political undertone in the letter, which was drafted by the Department of Administration's benefits-services staff and approved by the agency's director.

"It is simply designed to let members know that rate increases are coming and the reason for those increases," Ecker said in an e-mail.
Link Posted: 7/21/2010 5:51:24 AM EDT
Elections have consequences.





It's a tired phrase, but it's very appropriate.





I hope the State employed Obama workers are enjoying their 'Change.'    
Link Posted: 7/21/2010 5:54:21 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/21/2010 6:20:08 AM EDT by aquaman67]
Increases in employee premiums for plans that cover couples and families will range from $22 to $43 a month.

What?

I'm paying $119 a week. I need to move to AZ. They are only paying about $100 a month and it's going to $143 a month? I'll take that deal.

ETA:
In fact, employee premiums for five of eight plans next year will increase at a lower rate than they did this year.

I missed that part.
Link Posted: 7/21/2010 5:56:49 AM EDT
I love how everyone says its too early to tell how the socialized medicine will impact the cost of insurance––––BULL SHIT––-its already going up dramatically, just ask anyone who pays the bills.  

The only real question, is just how high will the cost of insurance and medicine get. If there was ever anything that will cause the failure of the medical industry in this country it was just passed but a bunch of retards who did not even bother to read it before they passed it.
Link Posted: 7/21/2010 6:19:46 AM EDT
The politicians in AZ realize that hiding the truth will not solve their Obama problem.  so they are no longer hiding it.

EVERY state has this issue....

TXL
Link Posted: 7/21/2010 6:23:24 AM EDT
Originally Posted By aquaman67:
Increases in employee premiums for plans that cover couples and families will range from $22 to $43 a month.

What?

I'm paying $119 a week. I need to move to AZ. They are only paying about $100 a month and it's going to $143 a month? I'll take that deal.

ETA:
In fact, employee premiums for five of eight plans next year will increase at a lower rate than they did this year.

I missed that part.


This.  My company has a GREAT healthcare plan and pays for most of it, but my wife and I still pay $220/month and we consider it a steal.  $43/month for a government employee is highway robbery IMHO.
Link Posted: 7/21/2010 6:37:02 AM EDT
<The Department of Administration cited federal health reform as the reason>

No way!  Obama said that would not happen!
Link Posted: 7/21/2010 6:41:46 AM EDT
Getting what you voted for feels good doesn't it?
Link Posted: 7/21/2010 7:42:25 AM EDT



Originally Posted By Milquetoast:


<The Department of Administration cited federal health reform as the reason>



No way!  Obama said that would not happen!


He also said 95% would be getting a tax cut. Of course when he lets the Bush era tax cuts expire it won't be him that does it. It will be Bush's fault.



 
Link Posted: 7/21/2010 7:47:15 AM EDT




Originally Posted By aquaman67:

Increases in employee premiums for plans that cover couples and families will range from $22 to $43 a month.



What?



I'm paying $119 a week. I need to move to AZ. They are only paying about $100 a month and it's going to $143 a month? I'll take that deal.



ETA:

In fact, employee premiums for five of eight plans next year will increase at a lower rate than they did this year.



I missed that part.


Remember, this is for state employees.  Bennies are considered part of the pay, thus leading to usually lower pay than private sector.  When they only give you a 1% COLA or nothing but simultaneously jack up the insurance by X percent in the same year, you effectively are working for less money.  Happens constantly in my neck of the woods.  Some of my coworkers who have been in for 25+ years make less each year because they get no raise and the cost of living increase 1-2% never covers the benefits increase 3-4%.





Link Posted: 7/21/2010 8:04:14 AM EDT
Top Top