Arkansas Blue Cross Provides Option for Families Who Eschew Obamacare
Obamacare is extremely unpopular in Arkansas. Most of the state legislature does not seem to know it, but Arkansas Blue Cross knows it. That is why they have devised a product for individuals and families who want health insurance outside the Obamacare Exchange. In an example of a real "private option", Arkansas (and other states too) Blue Cross saw a potential market, and built an insurance product to fill it.
The "Essential Blue Freedom Plan" for individuals and families does not have the coverages mandated by the so-called "Affordable Care Act". It can also deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, so it is actual insurance, not a medical care plan. But because of those things, it can offer coverage for far less money than even the least-expensive Bronze plan on the state exchange.
I ran the numbers for my family and the difference amounts to over $250 a month savings. That's $3,000 dollars a year, which for my family is far more than the 1% fine, tax, or whatever they are calling that fee you have to pay for having insurance coverage that does not do all the things that The Resident thinks an insurance plan ought to. Let's say I make $70,000 next year. That would be a $700 tax/fine/whatever balanced against $3,000 in reduced premiums. And the exchange plan has a $12,700 deductible for me, while the Blue Cross Essential Blue Freedom plan has only a $5,000 deductible.
Now if they ever get funded, the exchange plans promise that families under 400% of the federal poverty level will get subsidies, and 70K is still below that measure, so you might have to factor in whatever subsidy is offered to come up with a final cost comparison. The trouble is that you have to go to that exchange mess to find out, and I don't want anywhere near it. I don't think it would overcome the price difference even with the subsidy, but it does not matter to me if it did. I will forgo the subsidy just to keep those people away from me and my family.
How can they do it? There is a provision in the ACA which says that "temporary" plans of less than a year are not subject to the coverage requirements. Thus Blue Cross offers these plans for 364 days, at which point they must be renewed. They don't have to take pre-existing conditions. That means if you and your family are healthy you won't be subsidizing people who have ruined their health through bad living, like the Resident expects you to do.
If you are healthy, Obamacare is a bad deal. The premiums are much higher because you are not just sharing risk with people, as in traditional insurance, you are subsidising people who behave irresponsibly. If Fred drank his liver into submission while you drank moderately, then you pay to get Frank a new liver. If you did not spend your youth chasing wild women and Buster did, you get to pay for Buster's treatments for VD. If you watch your diet and exercise, you get to roll out of bed and go to work to pay for couch potatoes who are eating their way into an early grave.
The foundation of Obamacare is that responsible people will be forced to work to provide benefits to irresponsible people. It is just the Democrats taking care of their base. I sure wish responsible people had a national party that would take care of their interests, instead of a bunch of posers who shoot in the back any of their own who dares try it. In the rest of life, the free market provides alternatives to people, such as Blue Cross is doing here. Only in politics, where the two parties have taken pains to make sure that your practical choices are restricted to, well, two parties, is the market not allowed to operate and fill such voids.
Another difference with the Blue Cross plan: They also only offer $1,000 of "mental health" coverage. Plans under the ACA mandate bukoo "mental health" coverage, because crazy people are among the Democrats core voter groups and they want to take care of them- with your money of course. I don't know if abortions are covered in the "Blue Freedom" plan, but you know you will be subsidizing abortion when you pay into Obama's plan, because the Democrats would rather shut down the government than defund abortion coverage.
I don't even mind that lifetime benefits are "capped" at 1 million dollars. The only hole in coverage I find objectionable is that maternity coverage is only included if you purchase a separate rider. I can live with that though because if my essence proves too powerful, I know the cost of a delivery is around $10,000 if I pay cash. The insurance will still cover any other complications and that total still just brings me barely above the much higher deductible of plans on the Exchange.
For more details, here is an article where the liberals are fuming at how Blue Cross is gaming the system (i.e. working within the law to provide products that customers actually want). If you are looking for a non-Obamacare health insurance option for you or your family, this plan could be it. The health insurance "marketplaces" set up by the government are grotesque parodies of a true free market. The real free market produces plans like this one, designed to end-run the machinations of central planners like The Resident.