Q: I work for a major corporation and have affordable, high-quality health insurance. Will Obamacare affect my coverage? Will I have higher premiums, fewer benefits, higher out of pocket costs, etc?”
A. If you work for a large company, Obamcare should have very little effect on your benefits and costs. In fact, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says health reform legislation will have a “negligible” effect on your premiums. This makes sense because most large companies already cover the “10 essential benefits” that reform legislation says must be included.
Moreover, at a large company if someone suffers from a pre-existing condtition, he is not charged more. Everyone is in the pool together: young and old, healthy and sick, men and women. In other words, the insurance that large companies now offer is meeting most of the goals of Obamacare. Health care reform really doesn’t represent a major departure from the insurance most corporations now offer to their employees.
This doesn’t mean that, in 2014, your costs won’t climb at all. As long as health care providers and companies that make drugs and medical devices continue to raise prices, premiums will edge up each year. But in 2012, average premiums for employer-based insurance rose by just 3 percent for single coverage and 4 percent for families, a “modest increase” when compared to 8 percent to 12 percent jumps in previous years. And on average, employee co-pays and deductibles remained flat. This suggests that, in 2014, while many employees may see small increases, their costs should not catapult.
If your premiums or co-pays do rise sharply, it will be because your employer decided to shift more of the burden of healthcare to employees, not because of Obamacare.
If anything, reform should rein in employees’ costs. Families USA predicts that by 2019, when the law is fully implemented, “the average household will be $1,571 better off. Even high-income families will save, thanks to rules that limit co-pays, and reward providers for becoming more efficient: “Those earning $100,000 to $250,000″ will spend $779 less on medical care.”