We are at a watershed moment in the history of employee healthcare in the United States. As Obamacare gets ready to go live on October 1st, many company are making moves to move their normal company sponsored to private healthcare exchanges. What’s a private healthcare exchange, you ask? In a nut shell it’s very similar to a 401K offering, but for health insurance. Basically, your company will give you an amount of cash, usually similar to what they pay normally for your healthcare, and they make you make the decision of what health insurance you want to buy. Don’t panic, you don’t have to do this on your own. Insurance companies have figured out how to best take advantage of you and keep within the Obamacare rules.
Your companies HR/Benefit Pros will bring in an insurance company they contract with to ‘administer’ your private healthcare exchange, which mimics in many ways the Obamacare public healthcare exchange. You will be given many options. Might be 5, might be 10, it’s all up to the insurance company and your HR team. Insurance options will run a wide spectrum of options. There might be great low cost plans for young singles. Plans designed for families with children, and even plans for older workers. All kinds of options and plans. Exactly what President Obama believes you want — Choice.
This will be a disaster for many people, because most people are dumb when it comes to insurance. Also, these plans will more than likely cost you more money. Companies are going this route for a reason, healthcare exchanges take them out of the healthcare business. You will now be responsible for managing your health insurance, not your HR department. I’m sorry, you choose a plan that was cheap because you never go to the doctor and now you’re very sick — it was nice knowing you.
You see one thing Benefit Pros did in your organization was ensure you couldn’t be stupid! They designed plans that wouldn’t allow you to make stupid choices. Basically, they were acting like your Mom. Now your Mom, is you.
Check out this audio cast from Money Talks at Time.com — it’s outstanding in breaking down a very complex issue in a few minutes.
I don’t want to call employees dumb, but data shows when it comes to health insurance and options, you’re dumb.
Just as you are in picking your 401K options. Give you too many choices, and you make bad, emotional decisions. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about your financial future, or your healthcare future, emotion has no place in the discussion. There’s a reason most industrialized companies in the world have a single-payer national healthcare system — people are dumb. Also, when given the chance companies will find a way to take your money from you, when you’re dumb. Insurance companies aren’t going out of business, and they’ll continue to ‘donate’ heavily to political campaigns. Choice isn’t a bad thing, uninformed choice is. Be careful my friends, change is coming.