Now that (American)people have to buy their own insurance

…will we see companies dropping coverage?

What do you mean by “dropping coverage?” Offering fewer types of policies? Reducing the scope of policies? Canceling policies? Lowering premiums? Something else?

I think the OP means will fewer employers offer coverage. No idea why they would.

What I’m asking is will this be the end of employer based insurance? Will health-care benefits no longer be part of employee compensation?

ETA: What Really Not All That Bright said

Why would employers stop buying insurance?

“Our employees are required by law to have health insurance now, sir.”
“Oh, really? What happens otherwise?”
“They’ll be fined.”
“Oh, well, in that case, cancel all their policies, Smithers.”

I was just curious because theoretically it’s supposed to lower costs and most people who can’t afford insurance will get subsidies. So yeah, something similar to your Mr. Burns post :).

Why would employers stop offering health insurance? It’s not like they are required to now; it is a benefit to attract and keep valued employees. If some short-sighted employers stop offering insurance, good employees will gravitate to those who do offer it. Dropping insurance benefits would be a competitive disadvantage.

OK, guess that answers my question. Thanks.

At this point, besides displaying my ignorance, I would also like to ask: Isn’t the annual cost for the program less than 2 grand a year, which is less than the current cost for employers? Or, am I mixing up my information?
If I am correct, I could see employers loving.

??? The premiums for an average family medical policy costs about $15,000 per year. The manner in which employers split that costs between company paid / employee paid varies by company and is what makes one companies benefit package more or less attractive than another.

Employers with a certain number (or more) of employees will get fined for not offering employer-based insurance. So, no, they won’t stop offering it. Some will actually get tax credits for doing so. Any primary coverage offered through an employer or directly to an individual has to meet a certain minimum standard to be qualified.

For what it’s worth, I’ve read both HR 4872, all the amendments (and amendments to amendments) and HR 3590, plus multiple summaries on each. I should’ve purchased stock in Starbucks months ago.

50 or more.

What concerns me is, my employer’s insurance is probably among some of the best anyone can get. Employers will still be allowed to provide coverage, and I do see that there are taxes for “Cadillac coverage,” so can I assume that employers can still offer “better” coverage than the bare-bones insurance that the government is forcing everyone else to buy?

If I were to purchase my own insurance (were I to be self-employed at a future date), would I presumably be able to purchase my own “better” coverage than the least-common-denominator stuff that the government will require?

Yes, even though I’ve not had to use it yet (knock on wood), I appreciate coverage for private or semi-private rooms and don’t want to be stuck in a ward. Maybe I’ll want to pay extra for no or reduced co-pay.

In a nutshell, are non-employer-sponsored people all going to be stuck with the same crappy plans? Or can money still buy better quality?

Employers and individuals can still get better than basic coverage. The reconciliation bill had four levels: basic, enhanced, premium and premium plus. I believe it was the premium plus that would be taxed.

I haven’t yet seen specifics on exactly what the government deems to be the standard coverage where it pertains to cost (i.e., you’ll pay $X for tier 1 drugs, $Y for tier 2, etc.), but they have released the basics of what plans should cover, percentages of actuarial value for copayments/coinsurance and a skeleton outlay of what each level of coverage would look like. For example, enhanced coverage would be basic coverage, only with lower cost sharing; premium would be even lower cost sharing; premium plus would be still lower cost sharing with extra benefits.

After implementation, employers are required to auto-enroll eligible employees in their qualified employer health plan, but employees can choose to opt out if they want.

Part of the reason for what I asked in the OP was that I’ve heard grumbling (and not just from executives of various companies) that US employers having to offer health-care made us less able to compete with companies based in countries with UHC (or countries with something similar to UHC), so I thought we would come up with a law that would help phase out employer-based health plans, but it looks like this strengthens it instead.

I imagine that part of the reason they kept employer-based coverage in there was an attempt at bi-partisanship. And, of course, our system is based largely on employer coverage, so they probably couldn’t just ax it all at once.

However, based on the Act, it does seem that UHC is an eventuality. Just not yet. But that’s just my opinion.

You can see how many people would be affected by the high-cost plan tax here (.pdf, table on page 4).

Currently it’s 14% of active plans, increasing to 27% by 2019. The future estimates depend on CPI, though (as well as the cost of health insurance itself, obviously).

The threshold is $8,000 for individuals and $23,000 for families of the employer contribution - so if your employer pays $7,000 and you pay $2,000 your plan isn’t subject to the excise tax. If your employer pays all $9,000, it is.

The Republican fear machine has come up with all sorts of nonsense about the new legislation, but they’re right about one thing - it’s a step towards universal coverage, probably via a single-payer base plan and private supplementary plans.

Well, my being out of the country has left me greatly unexposed to the “Republic fear machine,” however I am able to think on my own, as well as contrast with past experiences (hence my questions about classes of insurance).

My fear (aside from the gross amount of money this will cost everyone) is that I’m eventually going to be corraled into some Ontario-type of insurance scheme (I don’t know what other provinces do, so I won’t say “Canada-style”).

In Ontario, the basic idea is that everyone gets the same level of service as everyone else. There’s no primary care private insurance. You’re stuck with what the government says you get, and there’s no recourse, short of coming to Michigan or going to New York.

I’m not saying this as a third-party observer; I’ve lived in Canada, and know at least a few above-average-wage Canadians that cross the border and pay cash (as they cross over bridge, they wave at our poor people as they go into Canada to buy medicines at a discount). Oh, I don’t mean rich folk, but auto workers. And I don’t mean for normal, preventive care, but for avoiding waiting-list situations.

That would be the direct opposite of the law that was just passed, which has no government insurance, and is nothing but private insurance.

Highly unlikely. Even in the (single-payor) UK you can buy supplementary coverage through BUPA and the like.