Monday, November 08, 2010

Thanks for the Health Cost and Tax Increases Mr. President

We're starting "Benefits Open Enrollment" at the firm where I work. Open Enrollment is the one time a year where you get to try to prognosticate into the future and figure out what health care you and your family may need. If you're wrong, you'll spend or lose a lot of money.

Of course, with Obamacare having passed things are changing, and not for the better as we find out whats in the bill.

The Blue Cross / Blue Shield plan we have (with 3 possible different and confusing deductible/co-pay options) is having quite a jump in rates. From a 6% increase last year we face a 14% increase - any bet its to cover all those costs BCBS is about to take on by having to cover those with preexisting conditions? So thanks for that one. Any bets the cost increases will eventually cause it to be labeled a "Cadillac" plan as the costs continue to rise to subsidize the Obamacare caused costs?

In addition, the Obamacare bill also removes all over the counter medications and items from Flexible Spending Accounts, and reduces the max contribution to $2,500 from $5,000. In other words, it is a tax increase as a tax savings method's utility is being drastically reduced by this law leaving items and income once untaxed to be taxed.

The FSAs are rather strange but useful tax-saving systems. You have to guess what amount of medical costs you and your family will have in the upcoming year. Put too much money in and you lose it and your employer gets it. Put in too little and you lose some of the advantage of paying for medical supplies with pre-tax dollars.

Then you have to submit your receipts to your plan administrator and you're reimbursed from the account for eligible medical expenses - up until the law passed that included contact lens fluid, contact lenses, over the counter pain and flu medication and suchlike. Now it doesn't.

While my family never incurred $5k in medical expenses in our FSA (not even close), I can easily see large families, and families with sick kids or serious medical problems having that amount of expenses so they'll certainly appreciate the reduced contribution amount and the higher taxes they're going to pay.

Thanks to the wonders of Obamacare, I can now look forward to increased insurance costs and higher taxes, and no real benefit in return. Thanks so much Mr. President! I can't wait to thank you personally by voting for your opponent in 2012.

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