So how is the Act affecting businesses in our region? We received an early glance through our sister publishing company in Central New York that just received their renewal notice for the coming year. The watered-down traditional Excellus EPO plan will see a 21.3 percent rate increase this coming year. The Health Saving Account, which carries a high deductible where employees pay everything upfront, without the benefit of co-pays, will see an increase of approximately 12 percent.
Our policy renewal comes in a few months but we’ve already been told by our insurance broker to expect similar increases. From a small employer’s standpoint, we’ve attended many meetings prompting us to be ready for implementation. We’ve made changes to our plans and we’ve made certain our employees were all enlightened to the pending changes coming our way. The Administration was not ready to implement the law, wasting not only time but billions of dollars. Now they appear to be more concerned about the upcoming elections and the impact the Act is having on their ability to maintain their party seats. It reinforces the point that this was all about votes and it was never about improving the health care system for all Americans.
Looking back, one has to wonder how could we have ever justified making such a major change to the American health care system, clearly seen the best in the world. While not perfect, 85 percent of Americans told pollsters year after year they were satisfied with their health care coverage. Certainly there was room for improvement, but I think we should have realized what would happen in a government takeover of health care system.
Under the Affordable Health Care Act, we are losing our freedom of choice. Health care is very personal to each of us and unless serious modifications are made in the future to this law, it will cast a very long shadow over our freedoms and “fundamentally transform” this country in ways unimaginable only a few short years ago.
Dan Alexander is associate publisher of New Market Press and publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.