An Unworkable and Unaffordable Health Care Reform Act in Massachusetts

Let me whine a little bit more about how this new Massachusetts Health Care Reform Act may not exactly be nifty.

If you are working hard and making a certain amount of money, but what you are making is not all not all that much–No help for you buddy.

And if you have a small business, and have contributed to the economy in Massachusetts all these years (like so many of the people I have talked to have), make an “Ok” living, but aren’t exactly getting rich, what you now get to shell out for health insurance for your small business seems to give every small business person that I talked to the “vapors.”

Even the response I got talking with small businesses that are doing pretty well, is that the monthly health insurance bill is the most dreaded bill of the month.

The rational behind the huge jumps that insurance takes for the self-employed and small businesses for folks at ages 50, 55 and 60, to reference the article in the Boston Globe article, August 17, 2007, by Alice Dembner, “Older residents feel insurance law pinch, Age-based prices too high for some,” (Please press here to read the article) is the assumption that as people get older, they are at the peak of their earning power and can afford huge premiums. But, as the article points out, that is not exactly always the case.

And obsessive researcher that I might be, I’ve been taking a look at some of the “new” plans that health insurance companies are offering in response to the Massachusetts Health Care Reform Act.

This is an example of a PPO. There is a $3,000-$6,000 deductible “In Network,” “$6,000-$9,000″ deductible “Out of Network,” and an annual out of pocket maximum per family, “Out of Network”– $18,000 (“In Network would only be $10,000). That does not include the monthly payment that whoever has this plan, pays on top of it.

It’s more complicated than that, but you get the idea, this is an astronomical amount of money for any individual or family to pay.

And this is going to go up every year.

Have the “vapors” yet?

The health insurance companies are responding to the new Massachusetts Health Care Reform Act. What they have been forced to do by this new act is push families to either come up with the money somehow if they are ill, or skip getting health care all together. (Sound familiar… only this time it’s the self-employed, small business Middle Class.)

Guess what families are going to do if they happen to have the plan above or one similar to it? They are NOT going to go to the doctor when they are afraid something is wrong. Because they get to pay 20%-40% of the doctor’s bill, lab bill, any thing that the health insurance company does NOT consider “Preventive Care,” i.e. any diagnosis or illness.

So it is my “scream” (see earlier entry), that the Massachusetts whatever (legislature, governor, state representatives) go way, way back to the drawing board, because on all kinds of levels, as far as I’m concerned, this new law is one sick joke. (And should never, ever be used in any way shape or form for a national model of what to do about the health insurance crisis in the United States of America.)

Mary Eaton
Newburyport