From the Boston Globe. (H/T ECM)
The relentlessly rising cost of health insurance is prompting some small Massachusetts companies to drop coverage for their workers and encourage them to sign up for state-subsidized care instead, a trend that, some analysts say, could eventually weigh heavily on the state’s already-stressed budget.
Since April 1, the date many insurance contracts are renewed for small businesses, the owners of about 90 small companies terminated their insurance plans with Braintree-based broker Jeff Rich and indicated in a follow-up survey that they were relying on publicly-funded insurance for their employees.
In Sandwich, business consultant Bill Fields said he has been hired by small businesses to enroll about 400 workers in state-subsidized care since April, because the company owners said they could no longer afford to provide coverage. Fields said that is by far the largest number he has handled in such a short time.
“They are giving up out of frustration,’’ Fields said of the employers. “Most of them are very compassionate but they simply can’t afford health insurance any more.’’
[…]The Massachusetts Division of Health Care Finance and Policy annually surveys employers and found no significant drop in coverage as of the end of 2009, when more than three-quarters of companies offered health insurance.
But insurance brokers say the pace of terminations has picked up considerably since then among small companies, of which there are thousands in Massachusetts. Many of these companies — restaurants, day-care centers, hair salons, and retail shops — typically pay such low wages that their workers qualify for state-subsidized health insurance when their employers drop their plans.
“Those employers are trying to keep their doors open, and to the extent they can cut expenses, they will cut health insurance because they know their people can go to Commonwealth Care,’’ said Mark Gaunya, president of the Massachusetts Association of Health Underwriters, a trade group representing more than 1,000 brokers and other insurance professionals.
Remember, Obamacare is patterned after these state-run health care plans from Massachusetts and Tennessee. These plans try to cover more people, which increases demand. But supply is the same. What results is a shortage. Prices rise. And when prices price, employers can no longer afford to pay for health care coverage for their employees. You can’t keep your health care plan when the state takes over health care. They are going to have to cut costs and you are going to have your coverage limited.
Here’s what the ultra-left-wing New York Times has to say about the move by companies to reduce health care choices and cut costs.
As the Obama administration begins to enact the new national health care law, the country’s biggest insurers are promoting affordable plans with reduced premiums that require participants to use a narrower selection of doctors or hospitals.
The plans, being tested in places like San Diego, New York and Chicago, are likely to appeal especially to small businesses that already provide insurance to their employees, but are concerned about the ever-spiraling cost of coverage.
But large employers, as well, are starting to show some interest, and insurers and consultants expect that, over time, businesses of all sizes will gravitate toward these plans in an effort to cut costs.
The tradeoff, they say, is that more Americans will be asked to pay higher prices for the privilege of choosing or keeping their own doctors if they are outside the new networks. That could come as a surprise to many who remember the repeated assurances from President Obama and other officials that consumers would retain a variety of health-care choices.
[…]But choice — or at least choice that will not cost you — is likely to be increasingly scarce as health insurers and employers scramble to find ways of keep premiums from becoming unaffordable. Aetna, Cigna, the UnitedHealth Group and WellPoint are all trying out plans with limited networks.
The size of these networks is typically much smaller than traditional plans. In New York, for example, Aetna offers a narrow-network plan that has about half the doctors and two-thirds of the hospitals the insurer typically offers. People enrolled in this plan are covered only if they go to a doctor or hospital within the network, but insurers are also experimenting with plans that allow a patient to see someone outside the network but pay much more than they would in a traditional plan offering out-of-network benefits.
It’s happening, folks. The only choice that liberals want you to have is the choice to kill unborn babies and to marry anyone or anything you want. They don’t want you to have a choice to keep the money you earn, or to spend the money you earn on whatever you want. You can’t buy health care products and services unless they allow you to buy health care products and services. They believe that the economy works better when you spread the wealth around.