Friday, March 16, 2012

Hands Off My FEHB

To the Tea Party and those you elected to Congress. Yes, you Mr. Rand Paul.

Hands off my health insurance!!

Remember that slogan from 2009? This is to the Republicans who are offering the Health Care for Seniors Act which would merge Medicare into the Federal Employees Health Benefit program. It's a dumb idea and would only make the FEHB enrollees, which are all of the active and retired federal employees, and yes members of Congress and their staff when they are in Congress, pay more for the Medicare receiptants.

Initially they, the Republicans, estimate it would add $30 per month to our premium, but realistically closer to double that, and considering my premium has gone up 50% in 3 years, thanks to the Healthcare Reform Act, and yes, this law didn't and doesn't help us since it excluded us for the most part.

Right now enrollees in the FEHB program are eligible for Medicare when they reach the eligibility age and have the option to make their FEHB plan their primary or secondary care, meaning Medicare can be their primary care and FEHB their secondary, but not decrease in FEHB premiums but just adding the Medicare premiums, or not take Medicare and just keep their FEHB as their sole health insurance.

I plan to choose the latter, ignore Medicare as I'm happy with my FEHB, which for everyone's information is a plan overseen by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in the Federal government, which determines a base coverage and allows all the private insurance companies to offer plans fitting the base or adding more with additional premiums. Right now there are on average 20-25 companies offering 50+ plans in every state with 20+ national plans covering all states.

It's a program which offers middle-of-the-road plans at affordable prices. My premium for Blue Cross/Blue Shied is $190 per month for just me with a 20% deductible and a co-pay. It's advantage is that it's accepted by the larger providers and many smaller one who opt into the program (you apply and accept the terms of payment under scrutiny of OPM, meaning fraud is rare).

Merging Medicare enrollees into the FEHB only hurts the lower grade active employees and retired employees living on their now fixed annuity, myself included, no thanks to the President and Congress. Adding the increased premium takes away the money they need to live and pushes the higher grade employees and retirees closer to just surviving.

The FEHB program is made up of about 8 million enrolless, half active employees almost all of whom are healthy people and half retirees, many of whom are healthy with only a small proportion incurring higher costs to the insurance companies. It's a profitable program for the companies.

Adding all the nearly 30 million Medicare enrollees would swamp the FEHB, the vast majority of whom are incurring higher costs for their healthcare because of age, long standing medical conditions and other health problems or issues. As noted the average cost for enrollees is 3-plus times the amount they pay in. This is the reverse for FEHB where most pay considerably more into their insurance over their 30-40 year career.

It's like putting an anchor (Medicare) in a rowboat (FEHB). Or more so the Titanic (FEHB) hitting the iceberg (Medicare). You can bet the cost would be born by the FEHB enrollees and number size of fraud cases would increase substantially, just look at the news of Medicare fraud cases (including the company owned by the governor of Florida for $1 billion).

It's not right or fair. And while the Tea Party, including the sponsors of this bill (Rand Paul) who yelled, "Hands off my health insurance!" during the debate and fight over the Healthcare Reform Act in 2009, they don't seem adverse to going after someone else's health insurance, so to them I say loudly and clearly.

Hands off my health insurance!!

You know the tune and tone. It's the same you spouted in 2009. So do what you believe and said.

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