Saturday, November 05, 2011
The Paul Harvey of the TV world passed away today.
Tuesday, November 01, 2011
So I had my first direct run-in with (I believe) the effects of Obamacare today, and it left me with mixed feelings. The company where I work sent out the annual email update regarding the costs of health insurance premiums. Usually, we see a bit of an uptick in costs, but this year, I saw a pretty significant dip in what it will cost me to cover my family with health insurance. Pretty sweet, huh? But then I read the details a bit further and discovered that the insurance company is going to an age-based premium grid. In other words, it depends on your age for how much you pay for your insurance. And, as one would expect, the costs increase with age. So I, as a 32-year-old, pay significantly less for my insurance than I would if I were 52. And this applies to the spouses of employees as well. So while I am seeing a decent decrease in the cost of premiums this year, my fellow employees over the age of 50 are getting hit by a huge increase.

Here is my theory for what is behind these drastic changes. Obamacare has a number of policy measures which could affect the state of health insurance, but two of the most egregious are the ban of pre-existing conditions exclusions and increasing the age that dependents can remain covered to 26. Obviously, both of these have significant costs involved. And since the costs of insurance have already been skyrocketing in recent years, insurance companies have to be a little creative in how they pass along the costs to their customers (you and me).

One way, and an unintentional-yet-positive effect of Obamacare, is by pushing some free-market capitalism into the system via the age-based factor. Rather than every health insurance customer bearing the financial risk of those more likely to need health care and have 20-something "dependents" (the 50+ crowd), now those who are more likely to need health care have to pay for the increased risk inherent in their age. Meanwhile, those who are less likely to need medical care (the under-40 crowd) pay for the less-risky insurance. Overall, the insurance companies stay in business and turn a profit while distributing the new costs to the customer as required by basic laws of free market enterprise. Any time some semblance of capitalism can be injected into an anything-but-free market system like health insurance, it's a good thing. So I like that.

On the other hand, it's merely hiding the costs with those who are least likely to do much about it and most likely to just die. Old people now bear even more of the brunt of the rising costs of health care, while young people think that everything is getting cheaper. In the big picture, the costs have gone up, and the State is forcing insurance companies to decide who is worthy of their services. At least, until the State steps in again to "save the day" for old people and requires insurance companies to charge everyone equally, at which point no one will be able to afford health insurance.

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Darius' book montage

The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Overcoming Sin and Temptation
According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible
Disciplines of a Godly Man
Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem
When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
Respectable Sins
The Kite Runner
Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak
Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, ... anabaptist/anglican, metho
Show Them No Mercy
The Lord of the Rings
Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming
The Chronicles of Narnia
Les Misérables

Darius Teichroew's favorite books »