Obamacare could bring more Band-Aid coverage

In a move to minimize costs, many employers will offer plans that cover just the basics -- not X-rays or surgeries.

By Aimee Picchi May 20, 2013 1:28PM

Medical doctor (© Digital Vision/Getty Images)Get ready for the latest twist in the Obamacare overhaul: the spread of bare-bones health insurance plans. 


When the Affordable Care Act goes into effect in 2014, employers with more than 50 full-time workers will be required to provide health insurance plans. Some companies are crying foul, pointing to the $15,75 annual premium for employer-sponsored family health plans as unsustainable.


Enter the Band-Aid health insurance policy. These low-benefit plans, which cover preventive services but often skip coverage for surgery, X-rays and hospitalization, are being pitched to companies as a way to meet the letter of the law while avoiding a government fine, according to The Wall Street Journal.


Under Obamacare, companies that fail to provide insurance will pay a $2,000 penalty per employee. Some companies have said they will drop plans, figuring the penalty would be less costly than providing insurance, as MSN Money reported in April. Some businesses, such as Regal Entertainment Group (RGC), are scaling back employee hours to avoid the health coverage mandate for full-time employees.


The Band-Aid policies would mean employers would pay premiums of only $40 to $100 a month per employee, making the priciest versions only $1,200 a year per worker. That beats paying a $2,000 fine, and it may explain why some businesses are perking up at the idea.


"For certain organizations, it may be an ideal solution to minimize the cost of opting out," David Ellis, the chief executive of LifeStream Complete Senior Living, told the Journal. His company, which employs 350 workers, was recently pitched such a bare-bones plan and is considering the idea. 


Administration officials told the Journal they're surprised that some employers are mulling such plans. "Our expectation was that employers would offer high-quality insurance," Robert Kocher, a former White House health adviser who worked on the legislation, told the publication. 


That may strike some people as evidence that the administration is out of touch with corporate realities. After all, anyone who's run a business knows keeping costs down is always top of mind. 


"What our goal was all along was to make (offering coverage) financially palatable for the company as a whole, so we didn't do damage and have to let people go or slow down our growth," Brian Livingston, the chief financial officer of Firebird Restaurant Group, the owner of El Fenix, told the Journal. 


His chain, which employs 1,200 workers, will offer limited plans that will cover preventative care and drugs but won't pay for surgery or hospitalizations. 


Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.


More on moneyNOW

246Comments
May 20, 2013 1:53PM
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Boy are we in trouble. This health care that is being offered isn't going to help. We The People knew this when they came up with harebrained idea. But no... let's not listen to The People...  So government opts out of this plan and we get stuck with it. Nice going!!
May 20, 2013 2:00PM
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 "Our expectation was that employers would offer high-quality insurance," Robert Kocher, a former White House health adviser who worked on the legislation, told the publication. Really???  What a bunch of ignorant morons! Can you believe these ****s actually believe any of this crap? Wait until the " Obama zombies " realize they will not get "Free Health care" Ha-ha-ha.  Obamacare is toast. Amen.

May 20, 2013 1:52PM
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Why would this be a surprise to anyone? Business survival means breaking even as a minimum. Finding the cheapest way to comply is a no-brainer.
May 20, 2013 2:12PM
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Obama Care, just another way to  screw over the American public.  The fact is alot of Mom and Pop types of businesses are closing their doors, rather that paying fines for medical coverage.  These small businesses operators are the largest employers in the US.
May 20, 2013 2:06PM
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Administration officials told The Journal they're surprised that some employers are mulling such plans. "Our expectation was that employers would offer high quality insurance," Robert Kocher, a former White House health adviser who worked on the legislation, told the publication.

yes, because businesses love to just throw money out the window like the govt. so much for another one of odumba's big lies. "you can keep the insurance you have now if you like it". haha, yeah, unless your employer finds a better deal. go ahead people and rip on the employers for wanting to contain costs. what you liberal give everything to everybody types don't understand, is businesses raise prices to pay for their expenses, so who really pays for all those high dollar insurance premiums? we do!
May 20, 2013 2:35PM
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Politicians are disgusting. Especially those who voted to destroy our healthcare system and wrote laws to change something they knew nothing about. If I could I would spit in the face of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid
May 20, 2013 1:57PM
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My question is, why does health insurance cost so much in the first place, and who is getting all that money?  Insurers are making a mint. Then you have hospitals padding bills and charging $100 for something as simple as an aspirin.

 

Sounds like health care reform should be more than what Obamacare is.. We need reforms both inside and out.  When it comes to the health care industry all costs get bloated, from the hospitals themselves all the way down to the medical suppliers, it's all one huge conglomeration of scams.  That's what's really blasting costs into the stratosphere.

May 20, 2013 2:21PM
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IF YOU THINK OBAMACARE IS GOOD FOR THE WORKING PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY WHO HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE YOU ARE STUPID.  IF YOU BELIEVE ALL DEPENDENTS WILL BE COVERED TO AGE 26 YOU ARE STUPID.  IF YOU BELIEVE YOUR EMPLOYER WIIL OFFER HEALTH INSURANCE IN 2014 AS GOOD AS IT HAS IN THE PAST YOU ARE STUPID.  IF YOUR EMPLOYER WILL CONTINUE TO OFFER "TOP COVERAGE" PLANS YOU ARE STUPID.  WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN IS THE MAJORITY OF BUSINESSES WILL PAY THE PENALTY, CUT FULL TIME EMPLOYEES, CUT HIGH QUALITY HEALTH PLANS AND OFFER PLANS WITH NO DEPENDENT COVERAGE OR DRUG AND SURGERY COVERAGE.  WHAT HAPPENED WHEN THE MORON IN THE WHITE HOUSE SIGNED THE ACA IT ELEMINATED ANYONE WHO HAD COVERAGE AT THE TIME FROM THE GOVERMENT PLAN AS GRANDFATHERED OR INELIGABLE.  PENALTIES WILL BE PAID BY EMPLOYERS WHO OFFER A BETTER PLAN DESCRIBED AS THE "CADILLAC" PLAN.  SO BASICALLY FORCING PEOPLE TO GO TO THE COVERMENT PLAN IF AND ONLY IF YOU ARE CONSIDERED ELIGABLE.  MEDICARE WILL BE CUT DRASTICALLY.  IF YOU ARE ON MEDICARE AND YOU HAVE SUPPLEMENTAL INSURANCE YOU ARE IN FOR A SHOCK.  YOUR SUPPLEMANTAL INSURANCE WILL MAKE UP THE DIFFERENCE IF IT IS A COVERED CLAIM BY MEDICARE.  IF IT IS NOT COVERED BY MEDICARE, IT WILL NOT BE COVERED BY YOUR SUPPLEMENTAL.  WHICH MEANS LESS COVERAGE EVEN IF YOU HAVE A SUPPLEMENTAL PLAN!!!!! SMOKE AND MIRRORS.  THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO TRULY BENEFIT ARE THE ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS AND THE UNINSURED

PRIOR TO HIS SIGNING OF THE LAW.  ITS CALLED BUYING THE POOR VOTE.  I BELIEVE LESS PEOPLE WILL BE INSURED AND ANYONE WHO HAS COVERAGE NOW WILL HAVE SEVERELY LESS COVERAGE AFTER 2013.  BASICALLY LETTING BIG BUSINESS OF THE HOOK TO SUPPLY BETTER COVERAGE, WHICH INTURN FORCES THE MASSES TO THE BARE MINIMUM GOVERNMENT PLAN IF YOU ARE ELIGABLE.  SO COMPLETELY SOCIALISM AT ITS MARXIST BEST.  BUT THEN AGAIN WHEN THE USA GOES BANKRUPT SOON IT WONT MATTER NOBODY WILL BE ABLE TO PAY THE WHITE HOUSE PREMIUM AND THE GENERAL POPULAS WILL HAVE NO COVERAGE EXCEPT FOR CONGRESS, THE SENATE AND FEDERAL EMPLOYEES ....MAYBE...  

May 20, 2013 2:27PM
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well the only good thing in this nightmare about to happen, is that the liberal scum idiotic low-information voter obamazombies that voted for this bastard are going to burn with the rest of us, as long as they burn with us, that's all that matters, gee gotta wonder who they'll blame then when it was their own phony media created cartoon character empty-suited false messiah that fcuked them over, wonder....either way I'm laughing already, these idiots actually thought they got over on the 'rich' or whoever it is they hate, meanwhile none of this is going to affect the 'rich' just us, the mid class, 

 

hey lowlife obamazombies, are you driving the rich guy's Mercedes? are you living in a 6million dollar mansion somewhere? you have money to burn on anything and not worry 'bout a mortgage, or car loan??? so what have you gained by voting for a pig that's always hanging around with the 'rich', playing golf, going to parties, gettin's his sorry blackazz kissed left and right...did you get some satisfaction about the 'rich getting' taxed more'?? and?? what's sad is you don't even know that you're the idiots that are gonna suffer, not the rich, this doesn't faze the wealthy, who hire people, create jobs, they'll unfortunately have to fire people now as a result of oDUMBOcare since it is just too damn expensive.......so looks like you've gained nothing and lost soooooo much more, like I said, I'm laughin' already!!  ;-D

May 20, 2013 2:04PM
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That may strike some people as evidence that the administration is out of touch with corporate realities. After all, anyone who's run a business knows keeping costs down is always top of mind.

 

Key words here "May Strike".....it's a no brainer....they are totally out of touch.....I've already lost my health insurance due to Obamacare increased costs, when up 200% in 2 years, and at 60 and a cancer survivor there is not a snowballs chance in hell any policy, subsidized or not, will be affordable...

May 20, 2013 2:35PM
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The problem has never been the lack of insurance, it has been the lack of people who wanted to pay for insurance instead of paying for smart phones, new cars, big screen tv's and such.  Those too poor received medicaid that the rest of us paid for and the retired had to depend on crappy insurance from companies they had spent a lifetime working for, supplemented by medicare.  Everyone else had to work and buy their own.  When they chose not to buy it then they were making an adult decision and agreeing to live with the consequences.  Now, it is becoming more and more clear who all the rich people were that bankrolled obama's election...wealthy bankers and insurance companies who are getting extremely rich by his foolish laws and taxes.  The voters have essentially given the government the right to kill off the elderly by not approving procedures to be done on them....I guess that is the liberal way to keep from paying them social security that they worked and paid into for their entire careers, while the welfare numbers keep growing. 
May 20, 2013 2:11PM
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Of course the government did not consider this possibility as they do not need to make a profit to exist. Again the people who will get hurt the most initially will be the people at the low end of the wage scale.

Then everyone will be hurt as the government passes more laws to close any loopholes they deem to be important. Then all of us gets hurt. It is a never ending cycle when trying to increasingly control people's lives.

Also the costs of technology goes up when it comes to medical care--- at a rate mch higher then our salaries. Put it all together and the train does not just come off the tracks, it goes flying over the cliff!!

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Obamacare is showing it self to be so screwed up that the encore of adding another 12 million non-taxpaying citizens to the country is the perfect example of Democratic logic, "since WE didn't read it and now get to find out what's in it, we thought we'd add another 12 mil that CAN'T read it or anything else for that matter"!
May 20, 2013 2:41PM
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Bricks O'Blama really has done a great job with creating more government waste with his O'Blama Care.  Pure crap!  Government as a whole (Republicans & Democrats) have screwed the American public.  All those good ol'boys are padding their pockets while we take it in the shorts.

 

I think it's time we take our government back and those rich Congress men and women should have to give their stolen fortunes back.

May 20, 2013 2:05PM
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I can't believe there will be any flaws in this system.  I am sure it is well thought out and I know Obama would never sell us on something that would not benefit all of us. Seriously, how could anyone as qualified as Obama come up with a health care plan that has flaws?
May 20, 2013 1:46PM
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The bamster will be rolling out medical-stamps soon. So don't worry people will get x-rays, or more likely just sell them for weed/crack as they do foodstamps.

 

Ladies under 30 and 130lbs, I will do my part and offer free breast exams.

May 20, 2013 2:20PM
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The "SS HEALTHCARE TITANIC"  heading for icebergs !  This will be another " MD " !
May 20, 2013 1:51PM
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Guess I'll need to sell body parts to keep healthy. Anyone wanna buy a used leg?
May 20, 2013 2:16PM
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Fantastic.  So employer's will pay $1000+ per employee and the employee will contribute their share for which in exchange they get an annual refill for a box bandaids.  The ACA is going to be fantastic, a real plus.
May 20, 2013 2:44PM
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This is what you get when you have people who have had a government job all of their lives making policy that affects business owners that have been providing jobs all of their lives.

If you voted for the likes of Obama, Pelosi, Fienstien, Reed, et al, you have made your bed now you must lay in it.

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