Horizon said individuals still could renew their old plans by the end of the year, even if they don't expire until some time in 2014, giving them at least a little grace period.
But it said last week that the federal government wouldn't allow it to renew what it calls its Basic and Essential plans, which cover about 90,000 customers. Those plans capped the amount Horizon agreed to pay annually for benefits such as diagnostic tests, diabetes benefits and wellness visits. The Affordable Care Act prevents insurers from capping their payments for some of those services.
"Since the federal government is requiring all 2013 policies to be modified upon renewal, our members' current plans would be significantly different and far more expensive," Thomas Rubino, Horizon's director of public affairs, said in a statement.
It caught some of them off guard because President Barack Obama told voters that if they liked their plans, they could keep them. It wasn't true. And it caused a bigger firestorm when many of them learned their new policies would cost them more.
Trying to quell the outrage, Obama told state regulators that insurers could renew their previously outdated policies. The Christie administration said it would leave the decision up to insurers.
But insurance experts said such a move was impractical; the old policies needed regulatory approval in a matter of weeks, and the old policies could have led to even higher premiums down the road.
How so? Consumers, both young and old, healthy and sick, are being steered to the new health exchange where they buy similar policies and share the risk. Given the choice, the young and healthy consumers likely would gravitate toward the less comprehensive -- and less expensive -- older policies. It would leave just the riskier population to buy new policies in the exchange -- and send their premiums soaring.
Turns out, if you like your old policy, you can't keep it, after all.
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey said Tuesday it won't renew any of its 2013 policies for individuals and small-business owners after the end of the year because it would be next to impossible to undo the work it has put in preparing for Obamacare.
The decision by the state's biggest health insurer means its customers will face sharply higher premiums, provided they make too much money to qualify for a federal tax break.
"It hurts," said Anthony Falcone, 52, of Middletown. "It's $400 more than I'm paying now. A month."
Newark-based Horizon has 80 percent of New Jersey's individual market and nearly 60 percent of its small-employer market -- segments that cover roughly 500,000 residents.
Those customers are among the 800,000 residents, or almost 10 percent of New Jersey's population, who have been caught in a whirlwind since this fall, when they received notices from their insurers that their existing policies didn't meet the standards of the Affordable Care Act -- often nicknamed Obamacare -- and wouldn't be renewed.
I wonder if his claim that he was 5 credits away from graduating is true. I can't imagine a bigger waste of time and money than getting so close to getting a diploma and not finishing. I also wonder what kind of school he claims to have attended. I don't claim to much about a GED, but I can't imagine any real school would accept someone with a GED. Maybe one would need to go to a JUCO for 2 years, do well, and then transfer into a 4 year college?
I've seen similar posts on these boards about never going to college and silly statements like 'I'm the smartest poster on here who never went to college'. And then he's recently talked about going to college but not quite graduating. Not only does he contradict himself in his political posts, but he contradicts his own personal history.
You've failed yet again. I would love to see how you came to the conclusion that I long for child labor. What an absurd statement. Or how you justify your glaring contradiction on supply and demand vs. minimum wage increases killing jobs.
Capitalism never existed?
And you talk about raising the minimum wage and the law of supply and demand? Yet another contradiction (I know - it's redundant to say you've contradicted yourself again). Don't you believe that when the price of labor rises, the quantity demanded will fall (assuming other things are constant)? That same law tells us that quantity demanded (i.e., the number of jobs for low-skilled workers) will decrease more in the long run than in the short run, as employers switch to labor-saving methods of production—and unemployment will increase.
You really are a walking contradiction aren't you?
Didn't you negotiate your bills like any rational qualified negotiator would? Did you put a gun to their head to make them agree to let you pay less with cash?
He has a GED? Does any real college admit someone who has a GED? I'd be curious to know what 'college' this d*uchebag dropped out of...
"You long for a world that never existed."
This is perhaps the most hypocritical post you've ever typed. You claim to be a Marxist and support Communism and yet true Communism has never existed as it goes against human nature. Who is it who is longing for a world that never existed again???
Please cite an example of any country/culture that practiced communism? There certainly are bits and pieces of socialism thrown into our Capitalist system (a lot more today of course), but we are much closer to true capitalism here in the US than any country that claimed to be Communist...
I cannot take credit - this was a piece by Susan Brown. Believe me, I wish I could be so eloquent...
Remember Fred...the board fascist only believes in class warfare and demonizing the rich if they are not BO supporters. Just another liberal hypocrite. Nothing new here...
America's founders fully understood that a manmade entity like the federal government can never do for us what we should do for ourselves. There is only one Savior and his name is not the Federal Government. Sorry, liberals, no matter how big you grow it, your government god cannot perform miracles nor does it walk on water or lower sea levels.
As I write, while warming my feet in front of the fireplace in my cozy Alaskan home, one heck of an ice storm is chugging across the Lower 48. Liberals can regulate us to the point we need written permission to relieve ourselves, but none of it will do anything to relieve the climate. As the Psalmist wrote, "The earth is the Lord's," so maybe it's time for liberals to relinquish control over it.
Liberals put their faith in a government created by imperfect people, but the more they do, the worse things get. The war on poverty declared by Democrat President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964 is all but lost. A growing number of children fall asleep hungry, waking up without a place to call home. Teenage kids can't learn what responsibility feels like, because they've lost the ability to land that first job. Welfare has not fared well for middle aged men, who'd prefer the privilege of providing for their families on their own. Healthcare legislation to help the uninsured helped more people become uninsured. Gun control does nothing to control the underlying problem, the depravity of the human heart.
At some point this house of cards liberals have worked hard to build will come crashing down -- around all of us. And hard working men and women across this country will be forced to roll up their sleeves and rebuild, not wait on the government to show them how.
The liberal mind, writes Dr. Lyle H. Rossiter, Jr. in his book, "The Liberal Mind: The Psychological Causes of Political Madness," views the world through the prism of "pity, sorrow, neediness, misfortune, poverty, suspicion, mistrust, anger, exploitation, discrimination, victimization, alienation and injustice" for people who are "poor, weak, sick, wronged, cheated, oppressed, disenfranchised and exploited."
Of course, these "victims" bear zero responsibility for their plight, have no control over the rising waters of their circumstances, and must sit on the rooftop of their despair waiting for their government savior to rescue them. Liberals believe any malady known to man has nothing to do with poor choices, bad judgment or weak character. Instead it's the fault of capitalism, discrimination, global warming, white people, conservatism, big corporations, Christianity, the wealthy, Bush 43, Reagan....and so on.With that kind of hopeless mindset, it's no wonder that I've yet to meet a happy liberal. More compelling is how easily once-normal people find themselves caught in Liberalism's spell which settles like a fog over the mind, and suddenly everything is turned upside-down. Right becomes wrong, wrong becomes right.
Consider the accomplishments of which liberals boast: Banning school prayer, legalizing abortion, secularizing society, replacing God with government and personal charity with social justice, substituting reason for religion and blurring the lines between the roles of men and women. And what do we get for this? We get a broken education system, destruction of the nuclear family and self-serving people with a moral compass lacking a true north.
Regardless of one's feelings toward Obamacare, everyone should agree that forcing VFDs to provide health insurance for volunteers is nutty.
But what is nuttier is that the Congress left this up to the IRS to decide whether VFDs have to provide health insurance for firefighters.
No matter how partisan the divide was over passage of this act -- Democrats refused to work with Republicans on the plan and vice versa -- Americans have to live with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Representatives and senators need to do their job to make Obamacare livable. That means getting off their duffs, stop bickering and fixing dumb things like making VFDs provide health insurance to volunteers. It should not be up to the IRS to do the job of Congress.
Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin should join with Reps. David McKinley, Shelley Moore Capito and Nick Joe Rahall and introduce the West Virginia Saves The VFDs Act that specifically exempts VFDs from Obamacare.
Volunteer fire departments in this state have enough problems staying alive without having to battle the IRS.
The International Association of Fire Chiefs has a problem with the Affordable Care Act that is strictly nonpartisan -- as well as life-threatening to those who rely on VFDs.
Obamacare may require volunteer fire departments to treat their firefighters as employees, which means the VFDs will have to provide health insurance or pay a fine, which means more Americans could be left without fire protection.
The fire chiefs are working with the Internal Revenue Service to resolve the situation.
The IRS now requires VFDs to issue W-2s for its volunteers, the fire chiefs group said in a fact sheet. That's because the relationship between a VFD and its volunteer firefighters meets the agency's criteria for being defined as an employee relationship.
Thus, if a VFD has 50 or more volunteers and other full-time workers, Obamacare's mandate applies. The rules also take into account part-time workers in a complicated formula that only government officials and human resources personnel can understand.
In two years, the fines will be $2,000 a year for each employee after the 30th employee, which may be cheaper for VFDs than providing health insurance -- but why should the IRS fine groups that are tax-exempt for not providing health insurance to volunteers?
Comedian Jay Leno: "This winter storm has left thousands without electricity. It's as if President Obama had taken over the power companies."
Columnist John C. Goodman: "We have spent $15 trillion 'fighting' poverty since 1965 and we are currently spending $ trillion a year -- an amount equal to about $22,000 per poor person or $88,000 for a family of four. Yet our poverty rate today (16%) is higher than when we started (14%)! If there has been a War on Poverty, poverty won. Is it not obvious that we are subsidizing and enabling a way of life? To put it bluntly, we are paying young women to have children out of wedlock. We are paying them to be unemployed. And we are paying them to remain poor."
Some of my favorites for the day...
Pittsburg Tribune-Review: "Under ObamaCare, employers with at least 50 employees must offer qualifying health coverage to full-timers. By 2015, this provision is projected to add $2.24 per hour to the cost of providing single coverage to an employee, according to [The Heritage Foundation's] James Sherk and Patrick D. Tyrrell. ... Together with the aforementioned minimum-wage proposal, 'employers that provide health insurance would have to pay at least $13.27 per hour for workers with the required single health coverage' by 2016, Sherk and Terrell report. If employers opt instead to pay the penalty, the cost would be at least $12.71 per hour for each full-time employee. Businesses already operating within tight profit margins would be forced to cut jobs, roll back workers to part-time hours or both, thereby eliminating what typically are first-time employment opportunities. The minimum-wage proposal and what's already contained in ObamaCare will do considerably more economic harm than any conceivable good."
Good stuff :
- No tax increases
- No extension of costly unemployment benefits
But...the compromise also busts the sequester caps from the 2011 Budget Control Act.
Discretionary spending goes from $967 billion in 2014 to $1.012 trillion in 2014 and then $1.014 trillion in 2015.
The increase is split between defense and domestic programs, giving both parties something. To "pay" for $63 billion in new spending for the next two years, there will be, over 10 years, $85 billion in savings from new fees (such as for airport security) and minor reforms to entitlements and other government programs. The Big Three entitlements are the biggest drivers of the federal debt, and chipping away with small reforms is better than nothing.
From the Wall Street Journal "More than 20 conservative leaders signed a statement released Tuesday opposing any deal that raises spending levels or increases revenue. They included the leaders of the Family Research Council, the Tea Party Patriots, the tea party-aligned FreedomWorks and the American Conservative Union." And as commentator George Will wryly observed, "saving" $23 billion over 10 years "is a rounding error on the [$17 trillion] debt. ... It's trivial."
The sequester wasn't ideal, but at least it reduced spending growth and it was already law; undoing it seems counterproductive. As Ryan noted, "This bill reduces the deficit by $23 billion, it does not raise taxes, and it cuts spending in a smarter way. I see this agreement as a step in the right direction." Ryan is looking beyond the next two years with an eye toward addressing long-term debt which is admirable.
As long as the Dems are saddled with the monumental failure of Obamacare, 2014 and 2016 should help libs lose plenty of seats and enable more cuts in spending in the near future.