TONY WILSON: Some pay more for insurance under Affordable Care Act

Tony Wilson

Tony Wilson

Every family has that one uncle.

You know the one. He’s the guy so far out there with his thoughts and opinions that most people try to avoid making eye contact with him at the family reunion.

“I really want some of Aunt Myrtle’s potato salad, but Crazy Uncle Bill is hovering around the table. I can’t risk it!”

I think Harry Reid (D-Nevada) is that uncle in the Senate.

In case you missed it recently, Reid took to the floor of the Senate to address Americans who are complaining about canceled health insurance policies, providers and needed drugs not being covered under new insurance plans and skyrocketing premiums for new policies — all direct results of the Affordable Care Act.

Reid called those people ... liars.

And he called some of the people behind the opposition ads that are airing, un-American and accused them of playing politics.

I noticed during the tirade that Reid did not call the president a liar for his infamous promise to the American people, “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. Period.” Who’s playing politics?

Reid, the Senate majority leader, went on to say that “horror stories” are being told all over America and “all of them are untrue.”

Will Reid tell us next that the moon landing was fake but “pro wrasslin’,” as Granny used to call it, is real?

Reid later backed down somewhat from the claims. But after you call out a cancer patient from the floor of the Senate because she doesn’t agree with you and is willing to speak her mind — well, that’s un-American, Uncle Harry.

I’ve shared with you in this forum the fact that my plan was cancelled because it didn’t meet the ACA requirements. Yes, I liked my plan. No, I couldn’t keep it. Period.

No lie.

I know of a number of individuals and groups that experienced plan cancellations. Although Reid refuses to accept it, plans were canceled as a result of this law — a law he championed. I wonder if he’s finally read it?

In an effort to control costs, many carriers have rolled out narrow provider networks and pared down their prescription drug formularies.

Weren’t we promised we could keep our doctor? Oh, right. That’s been dubbed the “Lie of the Year.” Premiums are skyrocketing for many.

For example, one of my small groups has an employee who insures himself and his wife. Prior to the group’s most recent renewal, the total monthly premium for the employee and his wife was just over $1,100.

With their renewal, their plan must comply with all ACA requirements for small groups.

The couple’s renewal rate? $1,901.70 per month. That’s just the medical. They also are being charged an additional $9.13 per month for pediatric dental, which is required under the law. They don’t have any children and they are in their 60s.

In case you aren’t good at math — which Congress doesn’t seem to be — that’s an additional $801 per month or $9,612 per year for the medical and $109.56 for the pediatric dental — which is a new charge to the couple.

Keep in mind, it’s called the Affordable Care Act.

I have another group that currently is up for renewal, and we are seeing similar situations with a number of employees in that group. At least eight of the employees are seeing significant monthly increases ranging from $289 to $372 per month.

Other increases are in the $100 to $250 range per month.

Again, keep in mind, it’s called the Affordable Care Act.

Granted, some employees in that group are seeing rate decreases. Those are averaging $10 to $20 per month. Every little bit helps, but what about those employees and families seeing huge increases?

It appears the focus of Reid’s anger is Americans for Prosperity, a political advocacy group backed by David and Charles Koch. The group is running ads featuring patients discussing insurance cancellations and costs.

“It’s time that the American people spoke out against this terrible dishonesty of these two brothers, who are about as un-American as anyone that I can imagine,” Reid said.

Maybe the Koch brothers have a political agenda, but does the name George Soros ring a bell?

The real focus and debate should be on the merits of the law. While it is helping some, it is hurting others. The “old insurance system,” as I’ve heard it described, did the same thing — helped some while hurting others.

So, have we made trade for something that is better or worse than what we had? That needs to be the focus of the discussion over a bowl of Aunt Myrtle’s potato salad.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me at twilson@nfp.com.

Tony L. Wilson is a Principal with NUVISION Financial Corporation based in Conyers, Georgia. NUVISION is a subsidiary of National Financial Partners Corp. (NFP), an industry leader in the delivery of benefits solutions for companies of all sizes.