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Archive for Wednesday, September 23, 2009

State employees will have to pay more for health insurance

September 23, 2009

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— In the next few days, state employees will learn in detail about increases they will have to pay for health insurance.

The increase will be about 10 percent for the employee, while state agencies are going to have to pay 12.5 percent more, according to Gov. Mark Parkinson’s budget director Duane Goossen.

During the last legislative session, lawmakers swept approximately $60 million out of the balance of the state employee insurance plan to help balance the state budget.

But Goossen said Wednesday that is not the reason for the increase. He said the state’s self-insured plan is spending more than it is taking in. He said for the past five years, insurance costs to employees have remained flat.

Enrollment for the insurance program starts Oct. 1. The increases will take effect Jan. 1, 2010.

Comments

newbee2 4 years, 11 months ago

You have to wonder why one of the largest employers in the state can't get better insurance rates for the employees than they do? I know people in both private and public sector and from what I see, private sector pays less for health insurance than public, it seems odd. Just another money-making racket!

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james bush 4 years, 11 months ago

The Governor should just back off on this and let the President of USA provide free insurance for us all as he transforms the country and everyone works for him.

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average 4 years, 11 months ago

@newbee2 -

Private companies frequently discriminate against people with health issues. And, the state plan is more comprehensive coverage than many employers offer. Thus, people who have (or have dependents with) chronic health issues gravitate toward government jobs. Even if it's lower pay, you aren't likely to have someone trying to hound you out of your job as a result. As a result, it's a fairly high-cost pool.

I can name at least two state employees I know who would love to be full-time entrepreneurs. Both would quit tomorrow if it weren't for the uninsurability of their spouses and children.

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gccs14r 4 years, 11 months ago

The insurance companies and health care corporations can probably see the handwriting on the wall and know they're going to be made superfluous in a few years, so they're getting in a last deep gouge to our wallets before that happens.

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KS 4 years, 11 months ago

average - If one has a desire to be an entrepreneur, the question of health insurance is part of the equation. It can also mean providing coverage for the employees. Being an entrepreneur is NOT like a cushy state job. It requires a lot of hard work and sometimes a lot of time. Many times one has to give up family time to make the program work. There is an old saying that many here may take offense to, that being, "those that can, do! Those that can't, teach". I guess I could exchange the word teach for "cushy state job". I know full well that will make some folks mad, but sometimes it is getting mad as he** that will kick some folks in the rear and force them to get out and fend for themselves. One must realize that on the private sector side, one eats only what one kills. The State of Kansas only has to worry what they will tax next! Sorry, if I make anyone mad.

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james bush 4 years, 11 months ago

The debate is over...........socialistists are in control and the overpaid insurance guys need to find a state job.

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james bush 4 years, 11 months ago

......or a fed job, such as Federal Income Redistribution Auditor. The state position classification would be "State Income Redistributor."

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SpiritTat 4 years, 11 months ago

Private insurance is a scam set up w/the Nixon era ~ it's a travesty. Many pay for it; either with their middle class incomes or their poor accessibility to regular health care.

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Alexander Neighbors 4 years, 11 months ago

screw this I am just going to go to Canada for my meds

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ivalueamerica 4 years, 11 months ago

I read today something alarming on cnn.

in 1982 less than 10% of bankrupcies were connected to medical care, in 2007, nearly 60%, and what is more frightening is that of that 60%, a vast majority of those were fully insured people but averaged over $37,000 in medical bills with exclusions, co-pays and deductibles. A small percentage were on medicare/medicat and only 12% were uninsured.

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Sigmund 4 years, 11 months ago

gccs14r (Anonymous) says… "The insurance companies and health care corporations can probably see the handwriting on the wall and know they're going to be made superfluous in a few years, so they're getting in a last deep gouge to our wallets before that happens."

Did you miss the part where the State self insures? No evil insurance company in the story.

"But Goossen said Wednesday that is not the reason for the increase. He said the state’s self-insured plan is spending more than it is taking in. He said for the past five years, insurance costs to employees have remained flat."

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BlackVelvet 4 years, 11 months ago

"Yep; now the State is even screwing its own people."

What do you mean "now", Marion? They've been screwing "it's own people" i.e. employees, for MANY years.

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LiberalDude 4 years, 11 months ago

Many of these comments (jimincountry & others) clearly show how dumb the conservatives are about healthcare. A private insurance company is going to raise rates on Kansans by 10%. Where will this extra money go? It will go straight to the millionaire CEO's. You would think that the conservatives might be mad about this, but they are too dumb and instead yammer on about socialism and Obama. That is what's the matter with Kansas.

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LiberalDude 4 years, 11 months ago

"Did you miss the part where the State self insures?"

The state doesn't self insure Sigmond. Employee's get health insurance through Blue Cross.

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Sigmund 4 years, 11 months ago

LiberalDude (Anonymous) says… "The state doesn't self insure Sigmond. Employee's get health insurance through Blue Cross."

Odd because Gov. Mark Parkinson’s budget director Duane Goossen, thinks the problem was with the states self-insured plan, "He said the state’s self-insured plan is spending more than it is taking in. He said for the past five years, insurance costs to employees have remained flat."

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coloradoan 4 years, 11 months ago

I see that LiberalDude just made the comment I was going to make in reply to Sigmund, but here we go anyway. I do not pay into a state "self-insurance fund"; I pay into Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Get your facts straight.

And, contrary to Goosen's claim, my rates have gone up over the last five years.

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Sigmund 4 years, 11 months ago

coloradoan (Anonymous) says… "I see that LiberalDude just made the comment I was going to make in reply to Sigmund, but here we go anyway. I do not pay into a state “self-insurance fund”; I pay into Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Get your facts straight."

Is it possible there are more than one plan and it is the "self-insured plan is spending more than it is taking in" that is the problem? Possibly the self-insured plan contains those that for one reason or another BCBS won't insure.

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average 4 years, 11 months ago

It's a little confusing. The state does self-insure. But, they do it through a management contract with BCBS (+ Coventry and some others as alternatives). The state pays them a percentage cut, and gets access to their paperwork handling, provider networks, and pre-negotiated reimbursements. However, unlike traditional 'insurance', the state sets the pay-in rates, and if there is an overrun, the state is on the hook for it. They may be re-insured for mega-major catastrophes.

Most, though, getting a BCBS card, assume they are actually insured by BCBS. That's not technically true.

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Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 11 months ago

The state self insures. Period. Different health insurance firms bid on a contract to provide a network of coverage.

And the employee contribution has not only remained flat for several years, the rate for dependents has gone down by 20%.

The state employee health plan is a model of good management. While the average premium has increased by 5-9% a year while co-pays and deductibles have doubled the state plan has reduced premiums with smaller increases in co-pays and no increase in deductibles.

All employees in Kansas should be lucky enough to have this government run plan.

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Richard Heckler 4 years, 11 months ago

$2700 a year for a family of four is impossible for the state self insured and insurance companies but NOT for HR 676.

Taxpayers would be money ahead by a long shot if we all we're responsible for our own.

Go To: http://www.healthcare-now.org/hr-676/

The problem is we DO NOT have the best insurance coverage in the world.

So what would the new HR 676 Medicare For ALL Insurance offer to americans 365 days a year,24/7? employed or not moving on to a new job or not single mom or not struck down with cancer or not

What would a new HR 676 Medicare Insurance Plan cost 365 days a year 24/7?

A family of four making the median income of $56,200 would pay about $2,700 in payroll tax for all health care costs. About $225 per month. Today the below insurance coverage actually costs about $1,100 per month.

  • long term care such that cancer would require
  • prescription drugs
  • hospital
  • surgical
  • outpatient services
  • primary and preventive care
  • emergency services
  • dental
  • mental health
  • home health
  • physical therapy
  • rehabilitation (including for substance abuse)
  • vision care
  • hearing services including hearing aids
  • chiropractic
  • durable medical equipment
  • palliative care

A family of four making the median income of $56,200 would pay about $2,700 in payroll tax for all health care costs. About $225 per month. Today the above insurance coverage actually costs about $1,100 per month.

HR 676 ends deductibles and co-payments. If a deductible and/or co-pay policy is in effect this usually indicates under-insured.

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Godot 4 years, 11 months ago

What is causing the cost of medical care to increase In Kansas? Could it be the facilities, amenities and salaries of medical care providers and their administrators?

Could it be double and tripple billing and overcharges? Could it be treating too much, testing too much, to avoid lawsuits? Could it be rampant fraud and abuse?

If any of these are the case, none of them will be solved by Obamacare. Obamacare doesn't care what causes the problems. Obamacare just wants to assume control. We are expected to have faith that the Obamacare czars will have the answers.

BS

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Sigmund 4 years, 11 months ago

Basically BCBS manages insurance, paperwork, premium collection, and payments, but the State of Kansas bears the risk of profit and loss. Notice also, "During the last legislative session, lawmakers swept approximately $60 million out of the balance of the state employee insurance plan to help balance the state budget."

Doesn't it make you wonder what they blew $60 million of your insurance funds on? Don't you wish they manage everyones health care too?

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Sigmund 4 years, 11 months ago

merrill (Anonymous) says…"$2700 a year for a family of four is impossible for the state self insured and insurance companies but NOT for HR 676."

Is that a complete sentence let alone a coherent thought?

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gl0ck0wn3r 4 years, 11 months ago

I just ran across this paragraph that seems to describe Richard and others of his ilk:

"In short, the typical organization for collective action within a society will, at least if it represents only a narrow segment of the society, have little or no incentive to make any significant sacrifices in the interest of society; it can best serve its members' interests by striving to seize a larger share of society's production for them. This will be expedient, moreover, even if the social costs of the change in the distribution exceed the amount redistributed by a huge multiple; there is for practical purposes no constraint on the social cost such an organization will find it expedient to impose on the society in the course of obtaining a larger share of the social output for itself... The organizations for collective action within society are therefore overwhelmingly oriented to struggles over the distributions of income and wealth rather than to the production of additional output..."

Mancur Olson, The Rise and Decline of Nations.

Not that Richard will respond to this post with anything other than a cut and paste...

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average 4 years, 11 months ago

Godot -

You know, Kansas passed strict tort caps many years ago (as have plenty of other states... none of whom have seen a decline in health costs). When was the last big-money jury malpractice award that made headlines in Kansas? Can't say as to fraud and abuse, but saying it's all due to lawsuit fears is a strawman we burned a decade ago.

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gccs14r 4 years, 11 months ago

"Did you miss the part where the State self insures? No evil insurance company in the story."

Did you miss the part of my statement you quoted where I mentioned health care corporations? Medical care cost inflation starts there.

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Jay_lo 4 years, 11 months ago

please don't let a post from this topic be the one millionth...

it would make a lousy t-shirt.

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Sigmund 4 years, 11 months ago

Bob_Keeshan (Anonymous) says… "The state employee health plan is a model of good management. While the average premium has increased by 5-9% a year while co-pays and deductibles have doubled the state plan has reduced premiums with smaller increases in co-pays and no increase in deductibles."

Only in government (or failed business that need government bailouts) does a "model of good management" equate "to spending more than it is taking in."

Bob_Keeshan (Anonymous) says… "All employees in Kansas should be lucky enough to have this government run plan."

Don't know, I am pretty happy with my insurance, but I am glad you are happy with yours. In fact, 85% of those with insurance are also happy with their health insurance.

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Sigmund 4 years, 11 months ago

average (Anonymous) says… "You know, Kansas passed strict tort caps many years ago (as have plenty of other states… none of whom have seen a decline in health costs). When was the last big-money jury malpractice award that made headlines in Kansas?"

True enough and where they have health care costs have risen slower, or as the case in Texas have declined for some services (especially for those doctors and practices that specialized in taking the hard cases).

But to your point, if we are going to have “National” health care, we need "National" uniform tort and malpractice standards. Otherwise citizens in capped states will end up subsidizing non capped states. Still it is unlikely as the trial lawyers are big democratic special interest group and they seem to think they make a pretty good living suing doctors. I am sure those they give contributions to have listened very closely.

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Sigmund 4 years, 11 months ago

gccs14r (Anonymous) says… "Did you miss the part of my statement you quoted where I mentioned health care corporations? Medical care cost inflation starts there."

Yes I did. Which evil health care corporation in this story "see the handwriting on the wall" and "know they're going to be superfluous" and are "getting in a last deep gouge to our wallets before that happens?" Sorry I missed it.

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true_patriot 4 years, 11 months ago

Employees in the public sector are generally paid less than their counterparts in the private sector and good health insurance and job stability has long been one of the carrots to try to offset some of the discrepancy.

By exploiting the private-sector-caused financial downtown to gouge at government by gutting essential services and causing layoffs and reduction in benefits, it completes the pattern of using the private sector to maximize profits and drain taxpayer money away from public investments and structures when times are good and then shifting the burden and consequences onto the public sector once the proverbial dung hits the fan.

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Confrontation 4 years, 11 months ago

Every state employee that I know gets paid too much for the little work that they actually complete. Enjoy those higher rates!

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maxcrabb 4 years, 11 months ago

I really need to get into selling insurance. Anyone need 24 Hour Troll Protection?

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Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 11 months ago

Sure, Sigmund, but a) you're on Medicare so of course you're happy with your coverage and b) 85% are happy with their current coverage because the alternative is no coverage at all.

If I put a day old A&W hamburger on one plate and nothing on the other, 85% of people are going to tell you how happy they are with their current hamburger.

As for your non-sensical comment about "only in government," and spending more money than you take in, um, how do you think private insurance companies work? Why do you think rates go up while the level of coverage goes down?

Solid argument, though. It is too bad your hatred for all things government leads you to make arguments that are completely ignorant of the reality of the US ecomony.

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naturalist 4 years, 11 months ago

I don't know whose insurance remained flat but I insure my spouse and that insurance went up last year. Also anyone who smokes had to pay more for insurance beginning last year. So that isn't definition of remaining flat. And I think co-pays went up $10 per visit in the last year or two. So maybe the cost of the insurance seems the same but the out-of-pocket expense is definitely on the rise. We need public health care for everyone in this country and I don't understand why people without insurance are fighting the issue.

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gingerbread 4 years, 11 months ago

Precisely why we need health care reform. It's a no-brainer. Amazes me how people on Medicare & Medicaid, both government-run, don't mind that form of what they call "socialism", but think if the rest of the working Americans paying exorbitant premiums should get an affordable health care program from the government, it would amount to dictatorship!

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Me2 4 years, 10 months ago

I work for the State of Kansas. ibroke, when did you work for KU? How many years ago? Because every two weeks they take $155.88 for the medical part, $11.23 for the dental portion, $10.16 for the vision part of my insurance. Oh, by the way I'm the sole support for a family of 3. So that's $2805.84 for the medical part, $202.14 for the dental portion, & $182.88 for the vision part to date for a total of $3190.86 & the year still has another 3 months to go. So tell me again how a measly 10% isn't going to hurt me?

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