Doctor’s Note: Reducing Your Health Insurance Cost

Don’t believe everything you read on Facebook, there’s lots of misinformation. Like President Barack Obama, I too am a fan of the quote, “You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts” by Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

I carried legislation the last two years to allow membership organizations to be an umbrella for smaller businesses to group together in order to buy health insurance. Buying health insurance in bulk is the best deal going. Right now, the government restricts that privilege to large employers.

Groups of business owners in a shared industry like realtors ought to be allowed access to similar savings by pooling their numbers through their membership organizations. Where you work shouldn’t dictate your access to lower cost insurance. This just makes sense.

There are three insurance marketplaces. The regulations and structure of the plans vary between the three.

Large group plans are only for businesses with over 200 employees and have the most competition, the lowest costs and the best benefits package. Large numbers of employees allow for economies and efficiencies, and fewer regulations allow for innovation.

Small group plans are less efficient, more regulated but still have some savings from grouping people together.

The individual marketplace is a combination of people who are receiving subsidies from the federal government and those who are buying their own insurance. Small businesses with less than 10 employees or employees of businesses who can’t afford to offer insurance buy here. These plans have the least competition, fewest options and the highest costs and deductibles.

AHPs are just like the large groups plans but instead of grouping together by employment you are grouped together by a membership organization. If you think that’s junk insurance, ask your friends who work at Capitol One and Altria. My patients with large group insurance have some of the best coverage and lowest out-of-pocket costs. They love their plans.

AHPs aren’t new, there are two in Virginia, the Bankers Association and the Independent Colleges. They have been in place for years. My patients in these plans also love their coverage.

Furthermore, the large group plans and the existing AHPs are NOT required to offer the ACA existing health benefits or cover pre-existing conditions, but they do anyway. With the leverage of a large group, the private sector has worked out discounts and efficiencies to get the best, most comprehensive plans. No government regulation was needed. That’s why I didn’t think the requirement was needed in the bill.

My bill, Senate Bill 1689 had strong, BIPARTISAN support.