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Old 10-12-2012, 03:56 PM
sfc_darrel sfc_darrel is offline
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Exclamation Military Families Get A $2,400 Bill From ObamaCare

Military Families Get A $2,400 Bill From ObamaCare

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At least one of those free “benefits” President Obama promised us from ObamaCare turns out not to be not so free—for those in the military.

Every time the president points out the ways he believes his health care legislation helps Americans, the first or second item on the list is the ability for children up to age 26—if you can call a 26-year-old a child—to remain on, or return to, their parents’ health insurance plan.

As any actuary could have explained to Democrats had they taken the time to ask, this mandate will dramatically drive up the cost of health insurance for children. Of course, they didn’t ask. They believed that by expanding health coverage to millions of uninsured people health spending, and therefore premiums, would actually go down.

Most workers with employer-based coverage won’t see much of an increase because the employer providing their health insurance often covers most of the premium cost. Except, it turns out, for the military.

As the Wall Street Journal reports, “Families covered by Tricare, the health program for active and retired members of the military, must pay as much as $200 a month to let an adult stay on their plan until age 26.”

That would be $2,400 for the first year of coverage for a family on a military salary. As President Obama might say, it’s arithmetic. If it’s two young adults, it’s $4,800 a year. Thank you for your service!

The most important thing this revelation does from a policy standpoint is it exposes an oft-repeated sham coming from defenders of ObamaCare: that this kind of coverage can be expanded without imposing more costs on those who are paying the premiums.

And it contradicts Obama’s constant drumbeat that he is helping the middle class.

Health insurance for children is the most affordable coverage there is.

That’s because children between the ages of two to 18 are the healthiest segment of the population. As a result, when a young family that has to buy its own coverage adds a child or two to their policy, they usually find the additional coverage cheap when compared to the cost of premiums for adults. And that low cost has made it easier for young families, which tend to have lower incomes, to get their children insured.

In addition, most standard health insurance policies allowed children to remain on their parents’ policies until they were between 23-to-25 years old as long as they were dependents, such as full-time students. (Mine did.)

But now insurers must accept young adults up to age 26, well into their child-bearing years, and they don’t even have to be dependents. And they can drop the coverage when they don’t want it and return to their parents’ policy when they need care. Talk about gaming the system!

As an aside, an insurance agent told me last summer that one of his clients who owned a company provided full coverage for his employees. One of those employees has an adult son who had gone to work for the employer’s competitor. Well, the son decided to go back on his father’s policy, thanks to ObamaCare. But the company owner complained that he was now paying for the health insurance of one of his competitor’s employees.

Thus the president’s much-touted benefit means the cost of children’s coverage will go up—dramatically. And now we know by how much: for military families between $175 and $200 a month in the first year.

The law that extended this requirement to the military—which is separate from ObamaCare—didn’t provide any funds for the coverage, according to the Journal article. So the government must charge our men and women in uniform that additional premium.

Premiums will also go up for those with traditional (i.e., non-military) health insurance, though it may be less obvious in employer-based group policies. But that young, healthy, low-income family that buys their own coverage and used to be able to add a child to their policy for a song? Well, they will have to pay more.

Of course, ObamaCare defenders might claim that the increased price won’t be a problem; the government will provide most families with subsidies. But that doesn’t mean the policy costs any less; it just means taxpayers are paying for it.

Or maybe not. Families will only get that subsidy if they are in a health insurance exchange, and there is now a major argument over whether exchanges created by the federal government, rather than the states, can provide the health insurance subsidies.

So one more of the many “benefits” of ObamaCare actually doesn’t seem like much of a benefit when people are forced to pay for it. The president may not mind sticking the public with that additional cost, but that’s no way to treat our military.

Merrill Matthews is a resident scholar with the Institute for Policy Innovation in Dallas, Texas.
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