Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE
IBM wins because it wants out of
providing healthcare insurance for retirees.
The government wins because it gains more
control over the healthcare system.
It is as if big business is playing right
into the Obama administration’s hands.
The healthcare insurance industry wins because
it gets more administrative services fees from the government without risk.
The brokers for the healthcare insurance
industry win because they will take more commissions from individual consumers than
they would from an institutional company.
Most retirees will go on Medicare Part B or
Medicare Advantage. President Obama is planning to eliminate Medicare
Medicare Part B is means tested so the
more income that is generated from any source by a retiree the higher the premium
paid to the government for Medicare Part B.
The Medicare premiums are paid with pre
tax dollars from retirees Social Security payment. The supplemental insurance
(Medicare Part F) covering deductibles and co-pays are not tax deductible.
Medicare is increasing the deductible and
co-pay requirement in 2014. Therefore the non tax-deductible supplemental
premiums will increase in price.
The premiums of both Medicare and
Medicare supplements for services and drugs can amount to more that $16,000 a
year for a husband and wife calculated in terms of after tax dollars..
Large companies provided the healthcare
coverage as a benefit to retirees tax-free.
IBM has been trying to get out of
providing healthcare coverage for employees since 1999. Obamacare has provided
an excuse for IBM to discontinue its coverage for retirees.
General Electric (GE) made the same
announcement a while ago. Time Warner made its announcement right after IBM.
Companies who have changed their
healthcare coverage for retirees include DuPont, Caterpillar, Sears and Darden
Many more companies are about to joint in.
It is obvious this was coming as a result
disregards the social contract made with employees when employees were first
(IBM) is going to discontinue its company-sponsored health plan for about
110,000 retired employees.
IBM plans to provide retirees a fixed payment.
The payment will be used for retirees to buy their own health care coverage
through a “private” health insurance exchange.
Once retirees are eligible for Medicare at age
65, IBM would not be responsible for managing these retirees’ healthcare
IBM told retirees, “that its current retiree coverage will end
for Medicare-eligible retirees after Dec. 31, 2013.”
IBM is shifting the responsibility to the
retirees for buying their own coverage through “Private Health insurance
It sounds like a costly rip off to the retiree.
IBM is providing a subsidy for now. Then IBM will discontinue the subsidy.
One Private Health Insurance Exchange
were turning off plans," he said. "We've given them a proven way to
subsidize. At some point every single retiree will join a Medicare
Some union-affiliated groups and retirees
weren't convinced. Lee Conrad, national coordinator for the IBM Global Union
worker group sees this as
just another take-away of retiree and employee benefits."
Parry, an engineer who retired in 1992 after nearly 32 years at IBM, said he is
concerned he may have to pay more. "The worst thing right now is not
knowing what's going on,"
At the moment the cost of the government
providing Medicare coverage is unsustainable according to the CBO. This is
despite Medicare premiums being means tested and the escalation of Medicare
Despite the increase in premiums Medicare
will run out of funds by 2024.
The choices are higher means tested
Medicare premiums (redistribution of wealth), decreased access to care or
rationing of care. I believe it will be all of the above. The burden of this
change will fall on the taxpaying consumers’ shoulders.
As big businesses drop coverage for
retirees, the Medicare roles will increase and the government will run out of
fund prior to 2024.
Excessive costs, commissions, and bureaucratic
inefficiencies part of any government program.
The Obamacare bureaucracies seem to have
no concern for the inefficiencies and increase in deficit spending.
It is as if they are saying, “Bring it on.”
All the government wants is control of the healthcare system.
The result will not be affordable care.
It will be unaffordable care that is rationed with limited access to care.
The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone
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