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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Does NorCo Have a Cadillac Health Plan? Or Is it a Pinto?

Starting in 2018, thanks to Obamacare, a 40% excise tax will be imposed on plans with premiums exceeding $10,200 for individuals or $27,500 for a family (not including vision and dental benefits). These are the dreaded Cadillac Plans, which usually seem more like Pinto plans to those who are in them. Ironically, the so-called "Affordable" Health Care Act is not so affordable after all. Manufacturers have recently asked the IRS for an interpretation. They are working on a repeal of this tax because it just increases costs for everyone, but in the meantime, they need to start planning now. In the private sector, 81% of employers are making "moderate to significant" changes now. George Washington University just announced plans to trade in their Cadillac.

Does this plan apply to public sector workers like Northampton County employees? You betcha'. According to Governing, public sector employers have three equally lousy choices to deal with an excise tax that will cost Northampton County $9.3 million in 2018 and move up to $60 million by 2023. "They can cut employees’ health plans so they fall below the Cadillac threshold; pass the tax cost on to workers; or eat the tax themselves and make other budget cuts."

County workers work for less money than the private sector because the benefits are good. What happens if that changes?

Northampton County health care plan administrators believe Northampton County is offering a Cadillac. Controller Steve Barron said it's a Pinto, but backtracked when pressured by Glenn Geissinger. Chris Moakley, a former County HR worker with all kinds of degrees and accolades, says it's a good plan, but not a Cadillac (plan as defined by the ACA). Neither of those two will be paying the $9.3 million tax if they're wrong.

This question has to be answered conclusively.

If it is a Cadillac plan, the employees plans will have to be cut. But the County should make up for that by increasing wages. And taxes.

Hope I learn more about what is happening today. John Brown's news conference, originally scheduled for 8 am, will be at 2:30 pm.

Thank God.


Anonymous said...

Those ARE "cadillac" plans Bernie. $10K+ premiums for a single person? I'd trade my right nut for insurance that cost $10K+. I've been slumming it waiting for Corbett to expand Medicaid, which he finally did. Now in 2015 I will be able to get crappy but affordable healthcare.

Anonymous said...

Showing your age with the "Pinto" plan reference. I think nowadays it would the " The Ford Fiesta" plan.

Anonymous said...

It's not a $10k premium that's just the co-insurance.

Anonymous said...

You failed to mention the part of the law that says self-insured providers only pay the 40% tax on what is considered "excess" health spending. The county is self-insured and pays cost after the Blue Cross discount as I understand it.

Barron while being an idiot most of the time mentioned the COBRA rate in his comments. The common formula being used is to determine the COBRA rate for your self insurance plan for an individual and family. If you are below the limits you should be fine. The county should have this because they most likely offer terminated employees or employees that quit some sort of COBRA Benefits like most other companies.

While you may have to pay the 40% on some costs it won't be on the whole amount spent.

Most insurance companies are giving the worst case.

The company I work for is also self insured and we had the same misunderstanding and a much less public fight about this.

Self-Insurence plans will get nailed if they pay for elective surgery and cosmetic surgery. I assume the county does not do this.

So long as the county's individual COBRA Premium is below $833.00 and Family COBRA Premium is below $2,291 there should be no issues for the county. If they are higher it may be time for a review, but no need to panic. Determine what is "excess" and that will give you a better idea of what the true cost could be (if there is any cost at all).

Plus I'm sure public pressure on Congress will have this part of the law changed before 2018 to prevent the doomsday situation.

Remember Y2K and how that turned out? The government spent a ton of money and all those warnings. Things were fine and 14 years later still no Y2K fallout.

Anonymous said...

Thank you anon 1:13 fro an accurate and dispassionate review of the actual law. County officials like Stoffa and Brown try to use this as an excuse to raise taxes.

Anonymous said...

"If it is a Cadillac plan, the employees plans will have to be cut. But the County should make up for that by increasing wages. And taxes."

Fuck you and the ass you rode in on. The majority of these morons and you voted for Obama and his never workable scheme. You and they need to suck it up cupcake. There was ample warning that Obamacare was a shell game. You've had six years to prepare and it reads like you've done nothing but further extend your coveting hands. Stop begging for more.

Anonymous said...

Reads like you have some issues. You may want to get some county services before Brown cuts them as well!
You have assumptions that the county workforce apparently are the only ones that vote, all voted for Obama and Democrats, as well as an obsession with cupcakes.

Anonymous said...

Like everything else in this world the misinformation about a cadillac plan vs a nash is comical at best. The County is panic stricken for an obvious reason. They want to balance their budget on the backs of the employees. This is the easy way to do it. The Nazi's were good at blaming the Jews for all their financial woes during the Hitler years. This is nothing more than an extension of that nazi philosophy. Blame the workers. Ir's the popular thing for Republicans to do. Don't bother to try and resolve the issue by meeting with your congressmen and the Feds. Blame the worker. It's easier than doing your job. To the idiot signed in as Anon 5:58....please get yourself some help soon. You are simply looney.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, are you aware about how many youngsters read your blog. On several occasions I have checked on the kids and they were tuned into your blog. Because of the filthy language like the contributed by 5:58 (using the F word) I have now forbidden my children from reading your blog. Sorry, enough is enough. 7:39 is right about 5:58. He/she needs help.

Anonymous said...

There are many county workers whose health insurance is 80-100% re-imbursed by State dollars and so the county is not paying for their health insurance at all. Mr. Brown wants me to now pay up to 25% of my salary for health benefits. Most county employees are not sitting in an office and collecting a fat paycheck. They are out in neighborhoods visiting the elderly, investigating child abuse or dealing with drug dealers and criminals,or the mentally ill taking their lives in their hands each day. No they don't deserve health benefits.

Anonymous said...

You either know the cost of the plan or you don't. I see these people are not too bright.

Bernie O'Hare said...

7:45, This blog allows people to post anonymously and to say whatever they want. I will delete comments that go too far and have doe so, but because i sleep and have other things to do besides play blog cop i sometimes don't get to things right away.

Having said that, this is not a G-rated blog. I expect there to be some profanity and sometimes use it myself, as recently as last night.

I really doubt that youngsters spend any time here. High school kids and middle schoolers, from time to time. I know one teacher who used it for a time in his civics class.

The world has idiots. That's a valuable lesson. The comment posted at 5:58 is a demonstration how the use of profanity in argument can weaken that person's position, and make that person look cRaZy. So I'll leave it up.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Showing your age with the "Pinto" plan reference."

I stole it from Stoffa, who said it last yeear. I hope he does not sue me for plagAIRISM

Bernie O'Hare said...

7:39, The first person to mention Nazis loses. Godwin's rule. I get the desire to vilify the oppositions. But when you do that in this setting, you demean all Jews and what their families went through under Hitler.

Anonymous said...


One get what one votes for.

Yes one could.

Anonymous said...

one need go to school?

Anonymous said...

One could, and one did.

You could, too.

Anonymous said...

Chris Moakley did NOT say it was a Pinto, but rather that the excellent health care program is not subject to the Cadillac tax at this time, because:

a) it is self-funded;
b) it has a government employer waiver;
c) 2018 is a long way off; and
d) by the thresholds you report, the plan does not exceed the premium limits under the ACA; e.g. the individual premium on a fully-insured basis would be $646.51, or $7,758 annually, as of this writing.

I am Chris Moakley and I approved THIS message!

RS said...

Folks are constantly saying that Obamacare raised the cost of health insurance. I can't say what's real in general and neither can most people because the Obamacare plans are usually different from the low cost plans in that the premiums might be lower but the actual out of the pocket is higher or vice versa. In addition, the new policies typically cover more than old ones that were replaced. Republicans have tried making a career out of that lie.
I can't speak about others, but my total cost under Obamacare with similar coverage went down about 33% saving me a bundle. I was one of those "lucky" people who couldn't swap companies because of pre-existing conditions and the insurance company gouged the crap out of me. So, until you can come up with real statistics backing the cost, back off.