New draft health-care regs: If you like your plan, you can’t necessarily keep your plan

posted at 6:48 pm on June 11, 2010 by Allahpundit

I vaguely recall hearing that we would be able to keep our plans if we liked them, but then I also vaguely recall hearing that Iran wouldn’t be allowed to build nuclear weapons, that this would be the most transparent administration ever, that the deficit is a very serious problem, etc etc.

We’ve been averaging around one story per week about bad outcomes/unintended consequences flowing from O-Care, but this little Friday news dump makes two in five days. Remember Ed’s post on Monday about one million low-income workers possibly losing their health insurance?

[A]n early draft of an administration regulation estimates that many employers will be forced to make changes to their health plans under the new law. In just three years, a majority of workers — 51 percent — will be in plans subject to new federal requirements, according to midrange projections in the draft.

Republicans said Obama broke his promise. Employer groups were divided…

“What we are getting here is a clear indication that most plans will have to change,” said James Gelfand, health policy director for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “From an employer’s point of view that’s a bad thing. These changes, whether or not they’re good for consumers, are most certainly accompanied by a cost.”…

An administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the rules are still being written, said the final version will uphold Obama’s promise, accommodating employers’ desire for flexibility while protecting consumers from runaway costs.

Their strategy for letting you keep your plan if you like your plan is to include a “grandfather clause” that would exempt current plans from consumer protection requirements so long as copayments and deductibles are below certain limits. The problem: If your insurer alters the terms of the plan in the normal course of business and those limits are crossed, it’s no longer a grandfathered plan and the new consumer-protection benefits suddenly become mandatory — which means an exciting new monthly premium when your insurer inevitably passes the costs of those benefits on. But then, we already knew that this Obama promise was bogus. Remember Scott Gottlieb’s piece in the Journal last month on how insurers would soon run out of options in managing new costs imposed on them by regulations, with the inevitable result being collapse and consolidation? Massachusetts’s problem is our problem now.

For your companion reading, enjoy Jeffrey Anderson’s rundown of all the wonderful things we’ve learned about O-Care since it passed, just as Pelosi promised that we would. His post is two weeks old and already outdated. Such is the pace of “Change.” From last August, here’s official White House video of Linda Douglass — formerly of ABC, currently of Atlantic media — responding to the evil conservative disinformation campaign which claimed, contra The One, that you might not be able to keep your plan if you like it. Wingnuts.


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