ObamaScare: UVa drops health care bomb on employees

| August 21, 2013 | 40 Comments

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Thanks to the (oxy)moronic Affordable Health Care and Patient Protection Act (Obamacare), University of Virginia employees will suffer ill, and perhaps unanticipated, financial side effects.

UVa announced today that due to “rising health care costs,” some working spouses will become ineligible for University insurance coverage:

Working spouse provision: Starting Jan. 1, spouses who have access to coverage through their own employer will no longer be eligible for coverage under U.Va.’s plan. Spouses who do not have coverage elsewhere can remain on the employee’s plan, and coverage of children is not affected.

“Rising costs” are cited as the culprit for the spousal (and several other) health coverage policy changes:

In all cases, those costs have marched steadily higher annually. U.Va. anticipates its medical plan costs to rise by about 6.8 percent each year. Total medical claims have increased from $99 million in 2008 to $127 million in 2012, an increase of 28 percent.

The University goes on to blame Obamacare for an anticipated $7 million cost increase next year:

Provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act are projected to add $7.3 million to the cost of the University health plan in 2014 alone. Federal health care reform will create new costs related to the “individual mandate” that requires all Americans to have health care coverage (or pay a penalty).

And, that doesn’t cover the taxes that will punish UVa for its “generous” employee health care offerings:

In future years, U.Va. could face millions more in taxes through the act if the cost of its plans passes certain thresholds.

“Ironically, by providing generous benefits, the University becomes exposed to a federal excise tax known as the ‘Cadillac tax,’” [UVa Vice President and Human Resources Officer, Susan] Carkeek said.

Effective in 2018, the 40 percent tax would apply to the cost of an individual plan with average premiums per employee topping $10,200, or $27,500 for a family plan.

If the University made no changes to address rising costs or the impact of the Affordable Care Act, employee premiums would have risen a projected 12 percent to 13 percent this year.

But wait; didn’t the University of Virginia support Obamacare?

Yes. In fact, they went all-out (on a limb). On March 19, 2010, Sally N. Barber, Special Advisor to the Medical Center CEO released publicly a letter to then Congressman, Tom Perriello, endorsing the Democrats’ health care proposal:

“I am writing on behalf of the University of Virginia Medical Center to indicate our support of the health reform package pending before the House because we believe providing affordable health coverage for more citizens of the Commonwealth is critical.” [emphasis added]

Sally Barber and The University of Virginia could not have been more wrong—or more shortsighted.

Sally Barber and The University of Virginia should be profoundly ashamed and profusely apologetic—but they’re not.

Meddling in politics (and bedding down with Marxists) is certain to produce disastrous results for state-sponsored institutions like UVa. But sadly, the administrators and politicians who furthered the sham now known as Obamacare are nowhere to be found. And, the hapless University of Virginia employee is left pick up the shattered pieces and pay the exorbitant price of institutional crony socialism.

About the Author:

Rob Schilling is founder of The Schilling Show Blog and News; host of WINA's The Schilling Show, heard weekdays from noon to 2 PM; husband; father; and community watchdog.
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40 Comments on "ObamaScare: UVa drops health care bomb on employees"

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  1. Rob Schilling says:

    After endorsing Obamacare, UVa is now kicking its employees in the teeth and blaming Obamacare!

  2. Skip Degan says:

    Only because they cannot blame this one on President Bush

  3. Les Sinclair says:

    There's also the family cost of this as these working spouses are now being required to pay $X amount to another health care provider. The only ones seeming to win with this are the Insurance companies. These are the unintended consequences of a good idea.

  4. Les Sinclair says:

    There is a fix tho' and it involves taxes! Imagine if we use the free market. We buy our own insurance (get employers out of the health care business) and make it tax deductible. The market would set the bar for quality and price. People would buy the best insurance they could get and be as healthy as they could be and the market would provide the best insurance for the best price. It would be a lot like car insurance where companies compete to cover you, Unlike car insurance they could not drop you. The healthy would cover the cost of the ill and if everything health related were tax deductible we might actually nudge the country to be healthier without the gvmt bureaucracy.

  5. Cindy Wolanski says:

    I don't know if this was 'unintended' Les, the insurance companies were very
    strong lobbyist in favor of OC. They knew they would be in the drivers seat regarding the plans and profits.

  6. Hank Dunton says:

    I bet 95% of UVA voted for Obama and fully supported obamacare. There are still hundreds, maybe thousands of Saabs, Volvos, prius's, and BMW's in town with Obama stickers proudly displayed.
    Meanwhile the UVA hospital lobby is being remodeled for the 3rd time in 8 years, the constant state of new construction continues, Gov Bob brags about yet another state surplus, and state workers get the first little itty bitty raise in 6 years.

    But I'm sure it's all Bush's fault somehow.

  7. Zach Reid says:

    No part of Obamacare says you have to fire people or reduce hours…that is 100% employer choice; and it is usually the employer being a slime-ball…shame on UVA for opting to make itself a Obamacare problem story instead of a Obamacare success story….the choice is all on the employer and UVA sided with evil

  8. UPS is making the same changes with their employees.

  9. area58 says:

    Wow what else is new. Should see what they are doing to retired state employees between age of 55 and 65. What a hosing they are getting.

  10. Julie Krohn says:

    This is all probably something that an Obama supported Business is doing only to further Obama's agenda and make more people HAVE to get into the exchange. Insurance companies will profit big time. I'm sure a lot of businesses stand to profit big time over this exchange. The rich get richer…the poor get poorer. Middle class is no more.

  11. area58 says:

    If you are retired as of now between 55-65 you insurance company could force you into exchange. The 55 – 65 group were not covered in any of National Health plan. Allot of business are looking for way to cut it workforce so they don’t get soaked by the national health care plan. As long as VA stay out of the exchange we may have a change. But I don’t think it is going to do us anygood when insurance company can rewrite the rules of engagement.

  12. Meanwhile, UVA just hired a new hospital director. No surprise that he comes directly from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania – who for years kept quiet and failed to report one dead or dying woman after another who arrived in their ER from Dr. Kermit Gosnell's House of Horrors abortion facility in Philadelphia.

  13. Meanwhile, UVA just hired a new hospital director. No surprise that he comes directly from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania – who for years kept quiet and failed to report one dead or dying woman after another who arrived in their ER from Dr. Kermit Gosnell's House of Horrors abortion facility in Philadelphia.

  14. SN says:

    Sally Barber wasn’t necessarily speaking for the whole University, just the medical center.

  15. Schilling Show says:

    Agreed, but is she allowed to publicly endorse legislation without the prior consent, or at least the knowledge, of the UVa President and administration?

  16. Cata Sawyer says:

    Hey Obama voters who work at U.Va. you still loving Obamacare? The jokes on you!!

  17. Cata Sawyer says:

    Obviously UVa. isn't just opting to make itself an Obamacare problem story, they CAN'T AFFORD IT!!!!! It's plain and simple!

  18. Jim Stern says:

    Say it ain’t so. . Is UVA now encouraging the family unit with its policies? Or are the overlooking that spouses without healthcare would be covered, so homemakers can get healthcare at UVA. Seems like discrimination for the family unit.

  19. Ken says:

    Barber was correct. Many people have not been able to afford health insurance at all. Obamacare will provide affordable health care to more people than have it now.

  20. Ken says:

    Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you – Matthew 5:42

    Whoever is generous to the poor lends to The Lord, and He will repay Him for his deed – Proverbs 19:17

    Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. Freely you have received. Freely give. Matthew 10:8

  21. Bill Hay says:

    My wife has already been notified that her premiums will be increasing by $460 next year.

  22. What is interesting is that they are only dropping spouses that are covered by their own plan from their employer. If you are a stay-at-home spouse or the spouses employer does not provide coverage, then your spouse will still be covered. This is essentially dropping DUPLICATE coverage. The only drawback is that the spouse may be on a different plan than his/her wife or husband.

  23. Again Stephen you bring clarity …. thank you

  24. Randall Rowe says:

    And the other drawback would be the difference in paying for another premium vs a family plan = Thousands extra $$$ in premiums for a family.

  25. But Obamacare has a "children can stay on their parents plans mandate till age 26". Technically they only need ONE plan that has their kids on it (either theirs or their spouses).

  26. and this doesn't change the existing coverage for children either.

  27. Susan Foreman Saliba says:

    After talking to my co-workers who will be affected, they will need to change doctors and will not be able to access the services that UVa provides. Many who travel to work will need to relocate their healthcare services to another city. The disruption in care is concerning, as is not being able to choose the physician.

  28. area58 says:

    Don’t worry it is only going to get better, yet!

  29. Ken says:

    It’s getting better for people who didn’t have health care, area, and I’m continually amazed that this doesn’t matter to the Christian Right. How do you propose to provide care for people who couldn’t afford it before Obamacare? (You don’t).

  30. area58 says:

    it is not really getting better for people who don’t have health care in this area. UVA ER is overload with family and individuals who can’t find MD, due to national health care plan. The free clinic is same way max out, they need more space. A good idea has turned out to be a nightmare. the one’s of us who provide health care see the end result each and everyday. Our cost keep going up and up and reimbursement is getting smaller and smaller and beng forced to pass the differnet along to the patients. At this time most insurances companies are letting us know that patient are becoming coinsurancer and that mean we can pass on different to them. The national health care plan has increased paperwork where we are replacing health care provider (nurses) with less trained individauls and hiring more and more medical coder and billers. During this time RNs, LPNs, and other health care provider are retiring, going to other lines of work that are less stressful and less regulated. Obamacare needs to be defund and fast. My wife who is disable will be forced to go on Medicare next yr because under national healthcare plan they can. So she is lucky that her MD will continue to provide her care. If she was patient of less than 5 yrs she would be forced to find new MD. yet we are better off.

  31. Ken says:

    ERs have been overloaded for years with patients who can’t afford family physicians. Obamacare is meant in part to alleviate that problem. You don’t like this plan to help them, so I ask again: how would you prefer to help them?

    Jesus healed the sick. Rob, speaking for the resentful Christian Right, says if the sick can’t afford a doctor, it’s their own fault and not his problem.

  32. JOhn says:

    This from the UVA Medical Center newsletter: http://uvaconnect.com/top-story/2013/08/26/the-affordable-care-acts-medicaid-expansion/

    ” For the first three years, the Federal government will cover 100 percent of the state’s cost for new Medicaid participants. Then, for the next six years, the federal share will slowly decrease to 90 percent, where it will stay indefinitely. The state costs for existing Medicaid participants will continue to be reimbursed at 50 percent.

    The funding for this program will come from the Medicare savings, which includes reductions in hospital reimbursements and reductions to the Medicare Advantage Program. Hospitals will have to absorb half of the $11 billion per year reductions. This cost is estimated at $158 billion over the next 10 years. It will also be funded by ACA penalties as well as increases in individual income tax — but only for individuals earning $250,000 or more, and families earning $500,000 or more. In addition, there will be an increase in capital gains taxes.Between 2014 and 2022, Virginians will pay more than $26 billion in taxes related to the ACA. Those funds will either subsidize our Medicaid expansion programs or other states’ Medicaid expansion programs. For obvious reasons, we would like to keep those dollars in our state, helping our neighbors.

    There are a lot of projections and numbers floating around. Here are some of the known facts:

    UVA Health System will lose reimbursements in the coming years.
    Virginians will pay increases in Federal taxes, regardless of our state’s approval of Medicaid expansion.
    We will leave funding “on the table” if our state does not participate in the Medicaid expansion.
    Expanding Medicaid in Virginia is the best option to help us remain fiscally stable as the rest of the ACA is implemented.

  33. area58 says:

    Non of this matter until — phyiscans, nursing staff, office managers, patients(custoner), insurances companys, lawyers,pharmaceutical, device manufacturers anyone involve decide to side down and look at how to control cost. We all have the responsibility for lowering healthcare costs. What good is it going to do to flood the market with more insurances plans? What good is it going to do to jack up everyone who currently has health insurnace. Compaired to this time last year, my health care cost have gone up 33%. From copay to medications cost, not including the wear and tear on my care, lost time from work etc. This is a cost issue,so we think government can handle this mess, yet, when government get their cost under control than I might start believing they might have a good idea here with national health care plan, until everyone is willing to belly up to bar there is no need for all this bitching.

  34. Here’s the latest scoop. UVA is the health insurance company. AETNA administers the billing only. Two plans (deductibles around $300 or $500) will become three with a new budget plan with $2,000 deductible. Prescription co-pays become you pay 20%. You get $40 discount per month for a year if you undergo biometric screening but premiums are going up about $40 so you pay the same the first year 2014. In 2015 the lady giving the informational lecture hopes she will be retired. The family plan becomes employee-with-children. But there’s a loophole for everything. If your spouse works at another state agency, he or she can stay on UVA plan. Dental will now be separate and for only $1 more, which made no sense to me since my dental is already separate. 2 types of Health Savings Accounts, where one of them you must use or lose annually, no rollover. Turns out there are 3 class of UVA employees: (1) VRS with state pension, you can rollover leave and cash out when you retire (2) VDSP with fewer benefits than VRS (3) University Staff with fewer benefits still. I’m #3 with $401K, use or lose leave annually. UVA has been pushing for everyone to become #3, hence the rumors UVA is moving toward private school status. Basically a new level of complexity is added to save money. Rarely does that succeed. Making it more simple usually saves more money and satisfies more customers.

  35. blair link says:

    Here’s the link: http://www.hr.virginia.edu/oe/oe-2014/oe-premiums-2014/
    The 3 plans are named Basic, Value, and Choice.

  36. area58 says:

    Since my wife retired from UVA last yr, she is on VRS however she had to keep the Aetna. Next yr she will be forced by Aetna and Social Security to pickup Medicare. Her cost per month will go up, being a retired suck when come to lack of support you have GA when comes to retirement benifits….

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