Tag Archives: Obamacare

A local exception to the ongoing Obamacare narrative

Amid the persistent drumbeat of stumbles and fumbles with the roll-out of a new healthcare system, there is one local example being held up as how the new program can work well.

Brad Camp of Kingston has seen his name in an editorial penned by three governors and distributed across the country starting with The Washington Post.

Camp, who co-owns the Olympic Photography Group business and does freelance assignments for the Kitsap Sun, received notice that the private plan he had enrolled in for this year would be canceled at the end of the year. He had that coverage for himself and his children. His wife has insurance through her work, he said, but covering the entire family through her work policy would have been “prohibitively expensive.”

So Camp went through Washington’s Health Insurance Exchange and (eventually) found a plan to cover himself and his children for about $550 a month. That’s about $70 more than he was paying this year, but he is getting far more coverage. And he is getting no subsidy, so there is little (I say “little” because I hesitate to be absolute about anything.) chance that the state could come back to him and say there was a miscalculation.

For another $45 a month Camp added dental coverage.

Subsidy miscalculation is justifiably all the rage among Obamacare opponents. On Tuesday they trumpeted the story from Washington State Wire about the Federal Way woman who was held up by Obama as a success story, but thanks to the news she’s not getting the subsidy she originally thought she decided she won’t get health insurance. The story is quite comprehensive and highlights the problems here in Washington, even though Washington’s online program has been held up as an example of health care enrollment going well.

Camp, who is a success story now, had big problems with the site initially. “If I judged it by the website I would have given it an ‘F,'” Camp said. “The first three weeks it was tough to even get the website to acknowledge I was there.”

Once he got insurance though, Camp revealed his good fortune via Facebook.

So, just got a monthly raise starting in January–FINALLY, got thru on the WAHeath site and was able to sign up for insurance.
*As a small business owner that had no corporate plan available, benefits for me and the kids was VERY expensive.
For $600 LESS a month (no subsidy) , we have for the first time in 5 years:
-full office visit coverage (before is was max 4x a year)
-Prescription coverage (had to pay full freight before)
-Vision AND dental. (had NO benefit before)
-we get to KEEP our current provider and all doctors.
—-Politics and other BS aside, Our coverage is deeper, more comprehensive and much, much less costly.–
Brad Camp and Family. Now fully insured.

The post had more than 60 “likes,” and found its way to Gov. Jay Inslee’s office. Inslee included Camp’s story in an editorial he co wrote with the governors of Kentucky and Connecticut. Camp was also interviewed for a Seattle Times story.

The governor’s office asked Camp if he would be available to go the other Washington, in case someone there wanted to highlight his health care exchange success. Camp is willing to tell his story in Washington, but has no interest in entering the political debate, he said. He just knows that the coverage he has now is superior to what he had this last year and it is far superior. “I’m not taking a political side on this issue,” he said. “There is so much passion on the health care act. All I can talk about is my situation. This health care plan for my family worked out pretty well.”

County employees’ premiums to rise despite new health care initiative

See today’s story in the Kitsap Sun (paper version) for an explanation of Kitsap County’s move to a self-insured health care program. A number of counties and cities around the regional have already made the switch in an effort to curb rising health care costs.

The new program, combined with other cost-saving measures, is expected to reduce the amount the county spends on health care by $12.5. But the “savings” will not mean a decrease in employees’ share of insurance premiums.

Employers nearly everywhere have responded to escalating health care costs by asking employees to shoulder a greater share of the burden through higher premiums and deductibles. So Kitsap County employees were not alone when they saw their premiums jump from two percent of the total cost in 2009 to eight percent in 2010. In 2012, the county pays 86 percent of the tab for premiums; employees pay 14 percent. In 2013, that’s expected to go up to 17 percent, according to Bert Furuta, director of personnel and human services.

Bear in mind that the county isn’t simply shifting the burden, said John Wallen of DiMartino Associates, the county’s health care consultant. The county’s own costs continue to increase, even as it leans harder on employees to foot their portion of the bill.

Nationwide, the proportion of employees’ share of premiums varies widely depending on the industry and region of the county. A recent Mercer survey that divides the county into four regions, showed that, among combined private and public sectors for the “West,” the percentage was 21 percent for single employees, 30 percent for families. At that rate, Kitsap County employees are still ahead of the game.

You may wonder — and I asked — why the county needs a health care consultant, at a current cost of just more than $40,000 per year. According to Furuta, the field of health care is so complex that it requires specialized expertise to navigate. The county tried to go without some years back and found it was not cost-effective, Furuta said.