Vision of more Owner Operator Health Insurance options through States
Given the current ineptitude of our Senate and Congress, Obamacare is apparently destined to limp along indefinitely with few solid options for Independent Contractors. So what can the hard working Owner Operator hope for concerning the future of health insurance?
Obamacare cannot continue in its current format. I won’t repeat more stats here that you can get anywhere with a quick google. In summary, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services responsible for overseeing Obamacare say:
“We continue to see a decline in issuer participation in the Health Insurance Exchanges leaving consumers with fewer and fewer insurance options…I am deeply concerned about the crisis situation facing the individual market in many states across the nation.”
They also report that it’s largely the Midwest and Southern states being hit by insurance carriers pulling out.
Senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy have proposed that instead of revoking Obamacare, simply revert the monies in block grants back to the states for each state to administer as they see fit.
What would happen?
It’s probable that states like California would wish to continue to offer the most generous benefits.
Perhaps other states in the Midwest or South would choose to offer more basic coverage.
To afford the disparity of choice, the amount of subsidies would then be determined by the people of that state by voting the same way they do for other social services taxes.
Participation would also be determined by the people of that state regarding work or volunteer requirements to remain in the program.
For example, California would likely choose a more liberal stance for Independent Contractors while Indiana may set up a program where an Owner Operator working 40 hours wouldn’t be subsidizing someone else choosing to work 20 hours.
States have had a solution for the equivalent of the pre-existing conditions challenge for quite some time.
In other types of insurance, there are high risk “pools” where people go to purchase truck and home insurance. This has proven to be affordable given the number of trucking companies I’ve seen succeed while continuing to operate in these pools, so it is something that certainly can be done with health insurance.
We’d all pay a little to subsidize that state pool for someone, through perhaps no fault of their own, is in need of more care at a particular point in life.
Medicaid would still be the backup for anyone falling outside of a reasonable safety net, again at the decision of state rules versus federal.
Giving states control over Obamacare would also encourage Owner Operators to purchase health insurance through more group associations. This would create more competition which reduces premiums and challenges exorbitant deductibles.
It’s also likely that through group associations specialized coverage could be developed for Owner Operators somewhat like Occupational Accident was carved out of Worker’s Comp for our industry.
Look, Democrat or Republican, we all want this problem solved. Democrats aren’t going to get more funding or single payer, and Republicans aren’t going to get…whatever they want…I’m not even sure anymore…
I AM sure that both parties in Congress and Senate have failed us, so let’s throw it to the States and give them a shot.
Shelly Benisch, TRS, CIC
Commercial Insurance Solutions Inc. (CIS)