Monday, March 7, 2011

Interesting tidbit about Obamacare waivers

So I went to a link on the Health and Human Services website that used to have the list of Obamacare waivers given (and to whom) and which stated at the top of the page that it was "to promote transparency" and found that it is no longer updated.  So I followed the new link at the top of the page to try to find the information for which I was looking (the new number of waivers which is now said to be well over 1000).  According to the new website, the organization that formerly had the information, the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight has now been absorbed into something called the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 

Not entirely surprisingly, I couldn't find an updated 'transparent' list of waiver recipients easily.  But I finally found it here (you will have to scroll to the bottom of the page).  They have broken the waiver recipients out by category with the number of waivers in that category in parentheses behind it in order to make the total look smaller.  However, with a little applied mathematical skill (something not taught in college anymore) since they also do not provide a total, it comes to 1,040 waivers given to different entities. 

There is an interesting category called "Non Taft-Hartley Union Plans" (I'm assuming this consists of public-sector unions) which received 23 waivers as of March 4, 2011.  Apparently 'non Taft-Hartley Unions' include the United Federation of Teachers Welfare Fund to the tune of excluding 351,000 people from Obamacare, which comprise 67% of the enrollees in this category.  It is the largest waiver with CIGNA (265,000 enrollees and a big provider of insurance to colleges and Universities) a close second (note:  CIGNA is included in the Health Insurance Issuers category).  The United Federation of Teachers Welfare Fund and CIGNA together comprise almost a quarter (23.67%)of the total number of enrollees excluded from Obamacare (total of 2,602,873 excluded enrollees) as of March 4, 2011.

I'm still wondering why any federal agency could/should/would have the power to exclude anyone from a law passed by Congress.  Laws should apply equally to all or they should be invalid.  It is a travesty.


FrankC said...

Pardon my (rightpondian) ignorance, and late comment, but do these Obamacare waivers deny coverage or just not paying for it?

Midwest Chick said...

It basically means that the companies/entities/insurers granted waivers don't have to adhere to Obamacare standards on deductibles and annual limits to benefits. In 2014 Obamacare is supposed to put an end to these plans which will drive up the cost of insurance. They are supposed to be one-year waivers, but I have a feeling that, like taxes, they can/will be infinitely extended.