Obamacare – Now It’s Personal


At Support For Home, our home care / senior care agency, we have had a medical insurance plan with Kaiser here in the greater Sacramento region since we started the agency back in 2007. The plan has covered our in-office administrative staff.

In the very low margin world of non-clinical home care, providing medical insurance to caregivers in the field has been an impossibility, and we do not see how that will change with the employer mandate in 2015. We really have no clue how this small business (by SBA federal standards, which Obamacare ignores) will be able to afford either medical insurance or the penalties associated with that employer mandate. That, however, is a different issue from the one we are now facing.

Insurance Nightmare

As I mentioned, we have had a Kaiser plan for our office staff since 2007. As the agency has grown a bit, we have been able to improve the plan over the years for the limited number of administrative staff we have. With the creation of Obamacare, having the plan be “grandfathered” became very important, for a number of reasons. One of those reasons is that, with a grandfathered plan for our administrative “carve out,” we could have a different plan for our field caregivers (if we were able to afford it), without the federal government crashing on our heads about discrimination between the two groups.

So … Over the years, Kaiser has sent us a number of communications verifying that our administrative staff plan was, indeed, grandfathered under Obamacare. Fantastic – until today. Today we got a new letter – and a new plan – from Kaiser. The plan is worse, by far, from what we have had, and the letter says that our plan is not grandfathered, after all! Son of a gun, how did that happen?

So, we call Kaiser, and they give us a generic email address to send our complaint to, with copies of the prior material they sent to us, telling us we were grandfathered. On the phone, the message from Kaiser is basically, “Aw, what a shame. That is too bad!”

We have read many articles on how many businesses will be forced to cancel plans and send their employees into the exchanges to get whatever plans they could find. We did not think that would happen to us or our employees. Naiveté is such a sad thing, but that’s the proper adjective to describe us. We truly do care about our employees. The informal name given to health care reform should not have that word in it!

Best wishes, from a very disgruntled – and slightly less naive – Bert.

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