Monday, October 14, 2013

Illinois' entry in the Health Care Marketplace

Calling Winston Smith from the Ministry of Truth.  He'd appreciate the use of the word "marketplace" in the recent health insurance cartel developments.  Namely, PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act), aka Obamacare.

Illinois has 8 providers, including newcomer Land of Lincoln Health.  It was created by MCHC (Chicago Metropolitan Healthcare Council) in November 2011 as a Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP for short), which in turn was created by provisions in PPACA.

On December 21, 2012 Land of Lincoln Health received a $160 million grant from the federal government "to create a new kind of healthcare company in Illinois."

April 29, 2013 Land of Lincoln received the mutual insurance license from the State of Illinois.

So who is MCHC?  Well, they claim to have started in 1935 and the board of directors consists of the chief administrators of hospitals in the Chicagoland region.  The executive staff names don't ring any bells, but that doesn't mean they're off the hook yet.  Here's a great Orwellian bio on Daniel Yunker, who is also on the Land of Lincoln staff:
A thought-leader in health care finance, Yunker is a professor of finance in the University of Illinois at Chicago’s master of healthcare administration program, educating the next generation of health care leaders. 

The Chicago Tribune did a fairly decent job reporting Sunday, October 13 2013 on Obamacare in Illinois, including this:
The vast majority of insurance plans for 2014 must include a list of 10 essential health benefits, some of which, like maternity care, weren't necessarily included in all health plans a year ago.
The law also includes mandatory coverage of mental health and substance-abuse treatment, prescription drugs and rehabilitative care. All preventive care, including annual physicals and routine immunizations like flu shots, must be covered at no cost.
Further, insurers are required to take all applicants, regardless of whether they have pre-existing medical issues that may have locked them out of coverage in the past. And they're prohibited from charging their oldest, sickest members any more than three times as much as their youngest, healthiest members, causing premium prices to rise for many younger people.
Costs associated with those mandates are passed along to all members of a health plan.
The Trib did more than most by pointing out younger and/or healthier people would be subsidizing older and/or sicker people.  But a better way to phrase it would have been "they are prohibited from charging their younger/healthier customers anything cheaper than 1/3 of their most expensive.  This phrasing shows that insurers will calculate their most EXPENSIVE premiums first, and then the cheapest versions will be simply 1/3 of that.

Puts it into perspective, doesn't it?