Remember when President Obama told Americans that if they liked their current insurance, they could keep it? In fact, just a few weeks ago, he reassured us that “if you’re one of the nearly 85 percent of Americans who already have insurance … you don’t have to do a thing.”
Tell that to the 15,000 husbands and wives of UPS workers who are being kicked off their spouse’s policy. Blaming rising costs brought on by Obamacare, the company announced last month that it will no longer provide spousal coverage if the spouse has access to coverage through his or her own employer. So those spouses will still have access to insurance, but it won’t be the policy they have now, even if they liked it and even if it was more affordable. They are hardly the only ones. The University of Virginia also announced that it was dropping spousal coverage for those with access to other insurance. (And even after that measure, Obamacare will be adding $7.3 million to its health-care costs next year.)[pullquote]If you want to know why people don’t trust the president on Syria, look at his promises at home.[/pullquote]
According to the benefits consulting firm Towers Watson, 12 percent of employer plans will not include spousal coverage next year, three times as many as in 2013.
Other companies are also being forced to consider changing or cutting coverage. For example, Universal Studios recently announced that it was dropping coverage for some part-time workers. Similarly, Wegman’s Supermarkets has eliminated its health-insurance plan for part-time employees.
Meanwhile, in New Jersey at least 106,000 people currently insured under what are known as “basic and essential” health-care plans will likely lose their coverage because those inexpensive plans don’t meet Obamacare’s mandates. Those New Jerseyans will now have to purchase much more expensive insurance; even if subsidies offset some of the cost, they won’t be keeping their current plan.
Michael D. Tanner is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, heading research into a variety of domestic policies with particular emphasis on health care reform, welfare policy, and Social Security. His most recent white paper, "Bad Medicine: A Guide to the Real Costs and Consequences of the New Health Care Law," provides a detailed examination of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and what it means to taxpayers, workers, physicians, and patients.
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