#BROKENPROMISES ALERT: Still More Americans Who May Not Be Able to Keep the Insurance They Like

August 21, 2013

Another day, another broken promise. It turns out that if you are on your spouse’s health care plan, and you like it, you may not be able to keep it as the new health care law kicks in. Employers are searching for ways to bear the burden of Obamacare’s costly mandates and rising premiums, and even with efforts to inflict the least harm on employees and customers, the law’s costs are clearly having an impact. The first disturbing trend has been a part-timing of the American workforce. Now we’re seeing spouses being dropped from employer health plans. 

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports, “A growing number of companies are looking to clamp down on rising health care costs by dumping coverage for their employees’ working spouses. Others are requiring their workers to pay extra money to cover a spouse who could get health insurance elsewhere. And some may even consider making employees pay the full cost of insuring their children.” Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident as the Tribune-Review reports, “The higher charges and exclusions for spouses are part of a national trend that’s hitting home in Western Pennsylvania.”

Spouse coverage is also among the “major changes” the University of Virginia will make to its health plan available to its 13,600 employees. UVA Today reports, “Starting Jan. 1, spouses who have access to coverage through their own employer will no longer be eligible for coverage under U.Va.’s plan.”

UPS is also following UVA’s lead. Kaiser Health News adds, “Partly blaming the health law, United Parcel Service is set to remove thousands of spouses from its medical plan because they are eligible for coverage elsewhere.” The company that “loves logistics,” explained the logistical nightmare that is Obamacare in a memo sent to employees. Kaiser reports, “While acknowledging that overall health spending continues to rise, the company also blamed cost increases on the Affordable Care Act’s research fee (initially $1 per health plan member, then rising to $2) and a temporary fee of $63 per member to stabilize new online marketplaces for consumer buying directly from insurers. Other factors are the act’s ban on annual and lifetime coverage limits and its requirement to cover dependent children up to age 26, UPS said. The law’s mandate for individuals to obtain coverage will nudge employees who previously opted out to enroll, also raising costs, the company said.”

The law’s shock to businesses is even expected to hit the very state Obamacare was said to be modeled after - Massachusetts. Forbes reports, “For some companies in Massachusetts, the shock will be a premium spike of over 100%, when you include health care trend.”

The health law’s implementation has been fraught with unintended consequences leading to headaches and higher costs for individuals, families, and businesses. Another day, another broken promise.