14 Nov

How will this affect you?

One of my favorite politician's quotes is courtesy of Nancy Pelosi:

“But we have to pass the [health care] bill so that you can find out what’s in it....”

And we're finding out exactly what's in it. Full disclosure: There are some good parts of the bill, and some not so good ones, and unfortunately, for me, the negatives outweigh the positives.

And one of the lines I get from people: "What do you care? You have group coverage! How will this affect you?"

"How will this affect you?"

I can't think of another more ignorant argument that people just blindly throw out there sometimes just to act all smart, regardless of the topic being argued.

Well, let's take this for starters -- here's how it affects "me" (everyone).

If you haven't heard by now, there's a number of fees that are going to take place in the health insurance arena, starting in 2014, as outlined in the Affordable Care Act (ACA -- which some people dub "Obamacare"). I'm going to choose one of those fees: The Transitional Reinsurance Fee.

For those with commercial insurance, this 3-year-in-duration fee will be assessed to each individual with medical insurance coverage at a rate of $5.25/mo. for the first year, with reduced amounts for the 2 years after that. The fee itself (whether you agree with the fee is a separate issue) has good intentions -- it's to protect the insurance companies against the higher-risk individuals entering the insurance market that cannot be denied coverage.

But to say "How does this affect you?" is naive.

For my employer-sponsored family coverage, I will be paying $250 extra per year out of my paycheck, with nothing to show for it. Of course, employers (mine included) could always choose to eat the cost of this fee when determining what premium to charge their employees, but in most cases, this will not be the case, and I can most assure you will not be the case with my employer. Individuals getting insurance from the newly-created health care exchanges will be paying this fee, which is embedded within the premiums charged.

"How will this affect me?"

Ask the number of people with specialized insurance products or even a plan which includes a network of doctors you have seen your entire life, who are getting cancellation letters because the product they enjoy from the insurance company does not conform to the minimum benefit standards of the ACA.

(I'm going to stop here, because this isn't a bashing of the ACA... it's just that the ACA was the subject of a conversation I had recently, where "the phrase" was used)

"How will this affect me?"

It's a snotty, smug, Mr.-Know-It-All type argument that does indeed work in some cases (where diligence was performed), but generally will highlight peoples' ignorance.

It's a combative-type response you get when you challenge any issue that a person fully embraces. The phrase puts the burden of proof on you somehow, and then when you debunk their statement, they're quick to defend the reason for it, completely getting away from the orignial question at hand which was:

"How does this affect you?"

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