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“Go Fish”: Companies Tell Employees to Find Their Own Health Insurance Policies

Written by Gary North on September 19, 2013

Walgreen’s is the latest firm to drop an in-house health insurance plan. It will pay workers a flat rate. Workers will then have to find a decent plan. Workers will soon find how slim the pickings are.

This may make insurance companies more competitive. But there is a huge problem. Large companies got low rates because everyone was insured. The law of large numbers took over. High-risk employees were offset by all the low-risk employees. Now each person will be considered as a separate applicant. High-risk people will be identifiable.

Obamacare says that they must get coverage. But will they? We don’t know yet. The health care insurance exchanges are not ready for prime time yet. They are supposed to be ready to enroll people on October 1. The chaos has not yet become visible. It will soon enough.

Insurance companies will do what they can to get around the law. The idea of insurance is to make use of the law of large numbers. By mandating that high-risk people be covered — people with pre-existing conditions — Obamacare destroys the very concept of insurance. It is like allowing people whose homes are on fire to sign up for fire insurance while the fire department is at the scene of the fire.

If these people must be accepted, then the rest of the public will face higher premiums. They won’t like it one bit.

It is politically imperative that Republicans spell out the reasons for these higher premiums if they plan to make political hay out of Obamacare. They have to produce easily understood campaign materials on “How Obamacare has raised your health insurance costs. Obama never mentioned this. Neither did Nancy Pelosi.” But they may not do this fast enough. The solution is repeal, but this has risks. Millions of voters want the subsidy. The longer the program continues, the more fans it will have. It will gain voting bloc support.

Obamacare looks politically permanent to me. Not until January 20, 2017, is there a possibility of repeal. But Senate Republicans have already caved in. They are willing to live with Obamacare. They will not be ready in November of 2014 to run on a platform of repeal. Obama will have until November of 2016 to solidify support for his legacy program — his only legacy program. That will be fairly easy. The defection among Republicans has already begun.

The welfare state is alive and well. Republicans in Congress did not repeal Bush’s prescription drug program. They passed it. They are not going to “get religion” at this late date on rolling back the welfare state.

Continue Reading on online.wsj.com

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18 thoughts on ““Go Fish”: Companies Tell Employees to Find Their Own Health Insurance Policies

  1. good, we need people to become personally responsible again. want healthcare pay for it yourself, want to retire pay for it yourself. want stuff pay for your needs first then buy stuff.

  2. Place Obamacare on the bak burner for the moment.

    When companies hire employees by dangling company-paid health-insurance benefit plans as part of their compensation packages, they enters into employment contracts. Unilateral abrogation of those contracts expose them to breach-of-contract lawsuits. Some of the largest, most labor-intensive companies risk bankruptcy should theylose a class-action lawsuit by their employees.

  3. "They are willing to live with Obamacare."

    Of course they can "live" with the new law, they are exempt from it, like all of Congress.

  4. True, unless the 1000+-page law has a clause buried somewhere that retroactively shields companies from being sued. That was one of the gems in the PATRIOT Act, protecting vaccine manufacturers from lawsuits should the latest pharmacological cocktail have serious side effects with a large portion of the population.

  5. dump obama care, and get a new plan to control the costs of health care. first step is to get the government out of health care.

  6. Every offer letter I wrote contained the proviso, 'Employee benefits are subject to change.'

    Employees are always free to leave, as they are not indentured servants.

    So, I do not think that a change in employment terms constitutes breach of contract.

  7. ACA will be great for older, sicker people (the 'high-risk' pool) who currently make too much to qualify for Medicaid.

    They will be subsidized by younger, healthier workers – assuming they sign up for health care, considering the 'penalty' imposed can only be enforced by garnishing any federal tax refund.

    I'm betting the younger, healthier people simply don't sign up and adjust their withholding to ensure they won't ever be getting a refund again.

  8. 'Employee benefits are subject to change.'

    The "flip side" of this being "At Will" employment.

    Walgreens ought to expect some turnover in staff. Remaining employees will experience the joys of no health insurance, especially for their dependents. Or they'll be grubbing for hours, stealing from their employer (yes, it's a crummy idea but some folks aren't wise) or moonlighting.

    No matter how you cut it, I think that Walgreens will regret "dumping" their employees.

  9. Robert Evans says:

    What do you mean, they are exempt from it? Are they not required by law to have health insurance? Are they not subject to the increased capital-gains taxes? The increased Medicare taxes? Is their employer (the US government) not required to offer them insurance? Is their insurer forbidden from having pre-existing condition exclusions or lifetime maximums on their coverage?

  10. While I like that idea, too, it's not how Obamacare is written. If they can't afford to participate in a State insurance exchange, the taxpayers pay to subsidize their healthcare. Remember, the goal of Obamacare is CONTROL, not self-reliance.

  11. They should, but they won't. I used to be a manager at Walgreen's. People are cogs in a machine. Break a cog, get a new one.

  12. i know the goal of obamacare is control, that's why we need to become self-reliant again. nobody even knows how obamacare is written because most of it is controlled by regulatory agencies that have not been created yet therefor have not written the rules and regulations yet. which change at will to whatever they really desire not what they say it is.

  13. Obamacare is a disaster just waiting to happen. How can a country, that is said to be the richest and the most powerful in the world…..giggle, giggle…………….and cant afford to give its citizens healthcare coverage. There are 75 million people of working age, without a job, almost 50 million on food stamps, and almost 50 million living in poverty, and those that have a job are very poorly paid, at about $8 an hour, but they only work for under 30 hrs a week…………………..

  14. Nope, all of Congress, their families and staff, as well as the President and his family are exempt. I can't get the link to paste, but look at Breitbart.com in the Big Governement section, quotes the ACA specifically. Harry Reid is furious and won't allow the amendment of the ACA disallowing the exemption to go to a vote.

  15. Congress routinely exempts itself from laws it passes for the rest of us rabble. "It's mandatory for thee, but not for me." But when your paycheck is derived completely from fees, taxes, penalties, excises, duties, imposts, licensing exacted from a dwindling private sector capable of producing wealth, the stinger is removed and the pain transferred to someone else.

    BTW, Bob, you make pretty decent money over at Hill & Knowlton, DHS, NSA, Pelosi's staff or whatever bureaucracy it is you work for?

  16. Robert Evans says:

    What does it mean to be 'exempt' from a law requiring you to have health insurance if you already have health insurance? Members of Congress have had health insurance long before Obamacare.

  17. Robert Evans says:

    I'll ask you again. What specific provisions of Obamacare is Congress exempt from?

  18. Here's an Republican alternative: handle healthcare the way we handle food stamps. Approximately 15% of the population are on food stamps. Coincidentally, approximately 15% of the population do not have health insurance. Give those people who “qualify” healthcare stamps. Why federalize the entire healthcare industry? We didn't federalize the entire grocery industry for people who don’t have food.