The insurance industry, that ever-resilient sector, has found a way to turn America's confusion about Obamacare into a business opportunity. As Talking Points Memo's Eric Lach reports on Friday morning, some companies are taking advantage of that confusion to scare people away from the exchanges and sell them non-compliant fixed benefit plans.
These companies, like USHealth Group in South Carolina, recommend these plans with three mostly false arguments, according to Lach. First, not everyone needs a plan that meets the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. Georgene Mortimer, a winery owner, told Talking Points Memo that her USHealth Group agent said the exchanges are only for very sick people, as in those with pre-existing conditions. Obviously young and healthy people benefit from more comprehensive coverage, especially as they get less young and less healthy.
Then there's the idea that a non-compliant plan is cheaper than a compliant plan, even when you factor in the individual mandate. As our own Allie Jones has pointed out, groups like Generation Opportunity, who argue that paying the mandate and buying low or fixed benefit insurance is the cheapest option, haven't exactly figured out their math yet. That pitch gains more traction among successful business owners and recent retirees, but from 2016 on, the fine per individual will be at least $695 a year. That's a lot to pay for the privilege of basically being uninsured under a fixed benefit plan.