When October rolls around, peoples thoughts turn to employee benefits!
Not really, they turn to football, the Phillies sweeping the Reds (yeah, it's Doc-tober boys and girls), pumpkin patches and apple pie.
But, it is also open enrollment time, which is the time where many of us have to pick our benefits plans for the coming year with our employers.
Why, pray tell, is Dr. J prattling about employee benefits? It is because he works for one of the largest employers in New Atlantis. We have had a couple of changes to our benefits package at work that Dr. J. thinks the dreadlords at Castle Gormogon would find interesting.
Change the firstWe are changing networks with regard to our Blue Cross plan. This was clearly done to help rein in the cost of our benefits. Given that most of us receive most, but not all, of our care at our place of employ, it will have a small impact, but make no mistake, a number of families will have to change OB/GYN's and pediatricians who may no longer be in network in order to cut out of pocket expenses. Dr. J. will have to check if he will have to pay out of network or out of pocket costs for his stellar ophthalmologist whom he will not surrender upon pain of paying out of pocket.
This skewers Mr. Obamas promise, "If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what." Dr. J's employer had to change networks in order for the costs of health insurance to continue to be reasonable for all of its employees. They may be able to recoup some of the costs due to decreasing the number of out of network competitors.
Change the secondHistorically, our employer has generously paid about 80% of our premiums with us paying about 20%. In order to further offset the rise in premiums, employees will pay a portion of the health insurance plan based on their income. By that, Dr. J means that an employee making a small salary will pay less than someone making a larger salary. The difference between the lowest and highest categories is nominal (~ $30 for individual coverage/month) but it sets an interesting precedent with regard to how employers cover benefits.
This skewers Mr. Obama's other promise, "All this is going to lower premiums. It is going to make healthcare more affordable," as Dr. J.'s employer has had to ask its higher-paid employees to help offset the increasing cost in premiums so that its lower earning employees aren't sufficiently burdened that they may seek employment elsewhere.
Let me be clear, none of these changes had anything to do with the passing of Obamacare (right).
Fortunately the Gormos pay in gold-pressed latinum and Yeti pelts.
Royal Surgeon to the Gormogons
Scripsit Dr. J.
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