Recently the Asbury Park Press published a story based on a widely criticized and discredited State Comptroller’s 2012 report examining the state of health benefits for public workers of municipalities, county governments and school districts. The report, which was panned by most benefit and insurance professional at the time as being actuarially and statistically invalid, also failed to accurately reflect the process local governments must use when selecting benefits for its employees. The report made for good headlines, but it didn’t make for good policy.
The takeaway of the report was that local entities in New Jersey — counties, townships, boroughs, school districts — could simply join the state health benefit plan and save the state $100 million dollars. But that wasn’t correct then and it isn’t correct now. The report overlooked the fact that benefits are collectively bargained for and can’t simply be changed on whim or all at once. It also made the false assumption that just by merging all the groups across the state, their claims history, which is how insurance policies are priced, would miraculously get better and generate savings. Finally, the report largely blamed local benefit brokers and consultants for the high cost of health care for public plans even though the cost of brokerage services is about 2% to 3% of the total cost of healthcare. The state plan is a solution for many public employers as are other private plan options. The key is to examine all of the options and align the entity with the best solution for their circumstances.
The report was largely discredited and dismissed at the time of its issuance by industry experts for being naïve and non-factual. But because it includes an eye-popping alleged savings number, the nearly 4 years old report is regularly dusted off and re-circulated by political operatives and media types looking to re-create a controversy that never existed.
Several of the health insurance policies to be offered to New Jersey residents during the third year of the Affordable Care Act will come with premium hikes of more than 10 percent, according to the federal government. Under new rules, insurance companies are required to report if they’ve submitted a rate request that increases more than… Read the rest of this entry »
This time, the Obamacare deadlines actually mean something. New and returning enrollees have until late Monday to sign up for health insurance on the federal online exchange and be covered by Jan. 1 – a hard deadline and stark turnaround from last year, when glitches on HealthCare.gov blurred pre-Christmas deadlines. Instead of fretting over a website,… Read the rest of this entry »
Men who can’t afford the little blue pill often turned to penis pumps which were covered by the federal government.Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
Medicare may soon be prohibited from spending money on vacuum pumps that treat erectile dysfunction in the coming years — an effort that could save up to $444 million but might upset those who can’t afford drugs like Viagra to treat their condition. The plan of cutting coverage of the pumps was proposed to help offset… Read the rest of this entry »
Thirty-seven percent of Americans say they approve of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, while 56 percent disapprove, according to a new Gallup poll. The 37 percent approval rating is 1 percentage point below the previous low from Gallup in January. Approval of the law is largely split along party lines; 74 percent of… Read the rest of this entry »
Uninsured New Jerseyans will have a new tool to help them buy health insurance this fall, just in time for the next Affordable Care Act open enrollment period, a website geared to connecting them with people and resources that can make it easier to sign up for coverage. The New Jersey for Health Care coalition, which… Read the rest of this entry »
Those planning to purchase health insurance on the Obamacare exchange will soon find out how much rates have increased – after the Nov. 4 election. Enrollment on the Healthcare.gov website begins Nov. 15, or 11 days after the midterm vote, and critics who worry about rising premium hikes in 2015 say that’s no coincidence. Last year’s… Read the rest of this entry »
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s decision to expand Medicaid under Obamacare puts him alone among Republican governors vying for the 2016 presidential nomination, and could come back to haunt him among primary voters. Some of his potential rivals who are also governors have sought ways to leverage federal money, and others have spurned the Medicaid expansion…
New Jersey residents are more than four times as likely as the national average to have difficulty finding a doctor who accepts their health insurance, according to a new Rutgers University report. Of state residents between the ages of 18 and 64, 14…
FRANKLIN — Gov. Chris Christie today said he did not yet know how President Obama’s health care overhaul would ultimately affect New Jersey because the president kept delaying the law’s most detrimental aspects. “What effect it will have is very hard…