You really have to hand it to young, tech savvy people. Sure, they may walk into lamp posts while texting, but their proficiency in understanding technology provides them with huge advantages in dealing with today’s complex issues – which, of course, includes Obamacare.
There is a young man who lives down the street and who just turned 27. Under the rules which are currently in place that means that he can no longer be covered under his parents’ health insurance plan. And, of course, that means that he needs to obtain health insurance on his own or face a tax penalty for non-compliance. At least those are the rules today – and since Obamacare relies on fleecing people like this young man to subsidize the system, that rule is likely to remain – unlike others which change almost daily.
So my young friend who has more patience than many his age made a run at the Nevada Health Insurance Exchange. My experience in looking at the sites for various states was that the Nevada marketplace seemed to work better than most. That is a little surprising since in Nevada we have a Republican governor.
When he went through the application process and looked at his options he realized that given the fact that he was healthy and hadn’t seen a doctor in four years, the least expensive of the plans which were available to him were totally unaffordable. This is the same “sticker shock” that many are experiencing throughout the country. So he decided that he would simply pay the penalty – which in his case would amount to about $350. That compared to a subsidized cost for a “Catastrophic” plan with a $660 annual premium which carried with it a $6,000 deductible he would have to satisfy before insurance would pay for his medical costs should he incur any.
As it happens, this young man works in the accounting department of a major corporation that runs a large number of casinos nationwide and in the Orient. Because he just started with them he is not currently eligible for the company’s group insurance plan.
There is probably no industry which has more controls in place which check, double and triple check the amount of cash that runs through their business. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to get a tour of one of these back offices, you’ll know what I mean. There are cameras all over the place and people checking on the people checking on those who count and account for the casino’s receipts. The casinos have developed one of the most “hacker-proof” systems ever, Hollywood movies notwithstanding. They have to do that because it is their livelihood and they take it very seriously.
So as my friend was thinking about all the issues that have become obvious in the implementation of Obamacare a thought suddenly struck him. Given all the problems in setting up a working website, he wondered, “How likely is it that the IRS which is responsible for imposing penalties for not having insurance will be able to verify anyone’s answer that they indeed have purchased it?” Of course, falsifying a tax return is a criminal offense because the individual has committed perjury. But the way Obamacare is currently worded, the question the IRS will be asking is “Did you have health insurance on January 1, 2014.”
What my young friend decided to do is to purchase a Catastrophic plan, pay the net $55 premium for one month – and then cancel it. So for an out of pocket cost of $55 he can honestly answer that IRS question, “Yes,” and save himself the balance that would be due as a penalty as well as avoid paying substantially more for insurance that he really doesn’t want.
Now here’s the dirty little secret. If this idea catches on with the young “Invincibles” whose premium payments are essential to subsidize this Ponzi scheme it will collapse like a house of cards caught up in a tornado. Perhaps then we can find the will and insight to craft health insurance and health care reform that is both bipartisan and which actually works.