Group Health to stop covering small businesses - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Group Health to stop covering small businesses

Employers with 50 people or less will no longer receive insurance

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Posted: Thursday, July 1, 2010 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - A Seattle-based health insurance provider's decision to stop covering small employer groups in Idaho will leave 450 people in the Coeur d'Alene and Moscow areas without medical insurance come Jan. 1.

Group Health's decision to discontinue insuring groups of 50 people or less is a business decision that has nothing to do with health care reform, said Bob Burden, the administrator for the organization's coverage area east of the Cascades.

"Due to the small size of our small group enrollment in Idaho in the very limited geographic area that we cover, our small group product just has not been viable," Burden said.

The move affects 38 small groups in Kootenai and Latah counties, the only Idaho regions covered by Group Health.

The insurer notified the Idaho Department of Insurance last month that it will not renew any existing small business plans after the end of the year, and that the company will withdraw any outstanding quotes for new small group business.

Letters started going out notifying the affected employers last month.

"The major issue is the fact that insurance works on the law of large numbers," Burden said. "Most other carriers are able to cover the entire state of Idaho and have a more significant enrollment in the small group products."

In the two coverage areas, Group Health will continue to write and renew larger group plans, because the larger member bases provide premiums that are in line with rising health care costs.

Claims expenses were going up in Idaho, Burden said, and the only options were to raise premiums or subsidize the costs from other sources within the company, which is a not-for-profit consumer co-op.

"We really looked for any way of sustaining this business without being unfair to these consumers or our other consumers," he said.

Group Health is not competitive, Burden said, and the company's leadership felt that continuing to insure the small groups was not beneficial to the small employers in the area or the insurer.

"It's one of these decisions we've anguished over for several months," he said.

In the first quarter of this year, Group Health quoted 102 proposals for small groups in Idaho and placed only one.

As the small employer group plans come up for renewal, Burden said Group Health will assist them in finding new plans with other carriers.

Group Health covers more than 600,000 people, mainly in Washington.

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16 comments:

  • bkemdanno posted at 1:43 pm on Tue, Jul 6, 2010.

    bkemdanno Posts: 259

    Employers with 50 people or less will no longer receive insurance"-- and there-in lies the problem. we need a return to large large business ; you cannot base your might on tatoo parlors, screen shirt makers, coffee houses, tanning salons, quik cash outlets, jiffy lubes, titan springs of the world, ---- people --they have no benes ie., health care for one. american business is the culprit since they have decided to take their large operation overseas where they can make a shirt, shoes, etc-- for practically nothing.

     
  • Triumph posted at 10:25 pm on Thu, Jul 1, 2010.

    Triumph Posts: 645

    Well Lunacy, and NINative. I actually agree. Youre exactly right, many of the nations problems today are the fault of the federal government's constant interferance, spending, ect... I'm with you guys, I think the feds should stay out of our business and stop spending our money. As far as your facts go...... not sure if there are any in there, when you are looking up to Germany as the best at anything. I can tell your devout to liberal political ideals which is your God given right!! Just be careful of your admination of other countries governments. We may be heading that way and you'll see just how great they are. You are right though that the administration should stop paying trillions for ANYTHING!!

     
  • fiepie posted at 8:36 pm on Thu, Jul 1, 2010.

    fiepie Posts: 3008

    As for "someone responsible for their own bills"...if you go to the emergency room at the hospital, get treatment and fail to pay the bill...the property owner's can be assesed an amount so that the hospital does not run in the red.
    Insurance, no insurance, pre-existing or not you can get all the medical attention you need and not have to pay period.
    As for that "6'4" cave dwelling Arab....follow the extention cord...duh!!!

     
  • Lunacy Watch posted at 2:34 pm on Thu, Jul 1, 2010.

    Lunacy Watch Posts: 176

    Exactly right,northidahonative. Never enough monies for health care, educating children, extending assistance to the unemployed, Social Security for elders, widows and orphans and maybe a little government cheese for those who really have it tough. But never a crop failure on the money tree when it comes to fighting endless serial wars, billions for futuristic weapons to drop bombs on mud brick huts in dusty Afghan villages. Mix in spending nearly a half-trillion dollars to run to ground the "mastermind" of 9/11--how hard is it to track down and kill a 6' 4" cave dwelling Arab, likely still hooked to a dialysis machine and on the lam in the desert? Spending a cumulative trillion dollars or more in economic and military aid over 50 years to support a terrorist state in the Mideast whose policies toward Palestinians would make the former apartheid regime in South Africa blush, not to even consider indirectly giving you $3/gal gas and of course bailing out our own welfare parasites on Wall Street whose greed likely has destroyed the US economy, if not permanently, at least for a couple generations.

     
  • northidahonative posted at 12:04 pm on Thu, Jul 1, 2010.

    northidahonative Posts: 1164

    Those who think medicare should cover everyone ignore the fact it is underfunded and will be broke and there arent enough Drs to treat everyone that would go into medicare>>>>>>>

    Underfunded, True, yet we can afford to pay trillions for unnecessary wars, trillions more to Wall Street, and Billions more subsidizing Big Business. The reason Medicare is underfunded is because there is no one paying politicians billions in bribes to Fund it, unlike the the projects, policies, and programs that do get funding from those bribed politicians.

    "Ther aren't enough Drs to treat everyone that would go into medicare??? That doesn't even make sense seeing as the number of patients Dr's would need to treat would be the same no matter what insurance coverage they had.

    You so called conservatives sure seem to be touchy about good old George, the guy you worshiped for 6 years or so. Facts? The fact is that the Republicans failed to fund Medicare Part D when they passed it. Like Orin Hatch said a couple of months ago, when the Republicans were in charge during the first 6 years of the Bush presidency they didn't worry about funding or deficits. The FACT is that the mess we are in today is mostly because of Bush/Republican policies, spending, and unfunded tax cuts.

    Why do so many former Bush supporters now deny they ever supported him and why do those same people seem to have an 8 year blank spot in the memories?

    The Health Care Bill that was signed into Law is nothing but a $60 to $80 Billion gift to big insurance, the Democrats are just as well bribed as the Republicans, the only reason they argue about who is power is that the Party in Power gets the biggest bribes.

    """At what point is someone responsible for their own bills for their own treatment or health problems instead of feeling everyone else should pay their bills"""

    At what point is someone responsible for the education of their own children? Why should a personal choice to have children require everyone else to pay for their education?

     
  • milburnschmidt posted at 11:27 am on Thu, Jul 1, 2010.

    milburnschmidt Posts: 1160

    Lets hope this turns into a exchange of facts instead of George Bush Republican drivel. The fact is no one knows how these reforms will work out and a judge down the line can change it all again. As Millions of americans indulge in drugs driving up insurance premiums along with those who take cholesterol medicine leading to other problems then pig out at the Buffet and others who dont take care of their health we will find out there is not enough money to pay for the costs of services. Those who think medicare should cover everyone ignore the fact it is underfunded and will be broke and there arent enough Drs to treat everyone that would go into medicare. The hastily put thru health reform left to many financial questions unresolved and critics said private companies will opt out and pay the fine dropping private policies. Democratic supporters in the unions I believe are still exempt from paying the same tax on their insurance as others and to many supporters of a one payer system know they will not have pay their fair share. At what point is someone responsible for their own bills for their own treatment or health problems instead of feeling everyone else should pay their bills. It must have been them that started the village concept. I Didnt. If you are happy with treatment from the IRS you will love Federal health care clerks.

     
  • northidahonative posted at 11:27 am on Thu, Jul 1, 2010.

    northidahonative Posts: 1164

    So if Medicare can't afford the current insureds which are only people over 65 how can it afford to pay for 300million insureds?>>>>>>

    Medicare can't afford the current insured because Congress, as in the Republican Congress, has failed to fund programs like the gift they gave Big Pharma called Medicare Part D. Congress, both parties, has refused to force Big Pharma to negotiate prices for Medicare, it does negotiate prices with the VA and foreign governments like Canada.

    If the money paid by workers and employers to private insurance companies were instead paid into Medicare for All, Big Pharma was forced to negotiate prices, and the politicians could keep their fingers out of the Medicare fund then a National Health Care program could be paid for.

    Germany has probably the best Health Care program going, it's a combination of Private Insurance providers and government regulation. The German Government sets the standards, coverages, and costs of the policies, the Private Companies then provides the coverage, some companies offer more than the minimum set by the government and individuals have the choice of which company they want to be covered by.

    """"People with pre existing conditions on the group health policies will be able to get coverage elsewhere">>>>>>??????????????????

    Maybe! The small businesses that employ those losing coverage from Group Health first need to be able to find coverage they can afford, along with not denying coverage or raising the rates for their employees with preexisting conditions.

    Don't worry though, if these people can't find coverage they can use Medicaid from the State, of course the Federal Funding for State Medicaid has been cut because of Republican Filibusters. Idaho, being such a Republican State should be happy with picking up the additional costs, after all we can always fire a few more Teachers to cover the increased cost of Health Care.

     
  • cococo posted at 11:19 am on Thu, Jul 1, 2010.

    cococo Posts: 144

    I have to disagree with you Northidahonative. You must be talking about a different national health care policy than Obamacare. Every health care professional I've spoken with is against the current proposals for health care reform. The federal government needs to stay out.

     
  • Lunacy Watch posted at 10:25 am on Thu, Jul 1, 2010.

    Lunacy Watch Posts: 176

    "People with pre existing conditions on the group health policies will be able to get coverage elsewhere."

    Suppose they can't find a job that provides group coverage and must resort to an individual policy? Tell you what. You give some health insurance providers a call and tell them a couple years ago when you were under Group Health you had a heart attack or bout with cancer and ask what's available and at what price and then get back to me.

     
  • The Truth posted at 10:20 am on Thu, Jul 1, 2010.

    The Truth Posts: 2193

    For all of newly uninsured - welcome to the Free Market! Enjoy!

     
  • Triumph posted at 9:58 am on Thu, Jul 1, 2010.

    Triumph Posts: 645

    I agree completely cococo! Just to clarify for some of you.... Lunacy.. You should know that pre existing conditions only apply to those who didn't have prior coverage. People with pre existing conditions on the group health policies will be able to get coverage elsewhere. The idea of excluding pre existing conditions is not to intentionally screw sick people.. Also i've got a quesiton for Taxpayer... So if Medicare can't afford the current insureds which are only people over 65 how can it afford to pay for 300million insureds?

     
  • northidahonative posted at 9:51 am on Thu, Jul 1, 2010.

    northidahonative Posts: 1164

    My medical record will never be on the internet for any hacker to find and use>>>

    Jeffery....If you've been treated in almost any hospital, clinic, etc. within the past 10 years or so your medical records are already online somewhere. The Republicans under George Bush decided that the government has access to all your records.

    "Talk to health care professionals to get a clue of what is needed to improve our health care system.>>>>>

    You can get as many different opinions about health care from "professionals" as you can from the general public. Most of those I've talked to, doctors and hospital nurses are in favor of a National Health Care policy. Talk to those "professionals" about who makes the decisions about just what treatment and procedures you are allowed to have under "private" insurance and how often treatments the doctors say are necessary are denied by some insurance clerk. Their big problem with government policies is with paperwork and compensation, not with denial of treatment.

    In this article Group Death says that their decision to drop small businesses has nothing to do with health care reform, but in fact it has everything to do with the need for reform, hundreds of families here are losing their coverage because of monetary (profit) decisions made by an insurance provider, check the news it's happening all around the country, small businesses will soon be unable to afford coverage for their employees, and at the wages workers in States like Idaho make the workers cannot afford to pay for the coverage themselves, more costs passed on to the rest of us.

     
  • cococo posted at 8:13 am on Thu, Jul 1, 2010.

    cococo Posts: 144

    Stop "trusting" politicians.Talk to health care professionals to get a clue of what is needed to improve our health care system. Obamacare is not the answer. Read the "Tan Tax" story....have we not been lied to enough?
    By the way....insurance carriers are not health care professionals.

     
  • Jeffrey Wherley posted at 8:13 am on Thu, Jul 1, 2010.

    Jeffrey Wherley Posts: 3969

    If a state wants to create and pay for universal health care, then that is up to the state and it's people. But that Pesky Constitution Doesn't give that right to the federal government and there for it Illegal. The states are free to try different things and the people if they can't change it with a state vote they can always vote with their feet. But the Feds doing it is pure and simple Oppressive. My medical record will never be on the internet for any hacker to find and use, you want your life insurance company to charge you for that one time as a 2 year old you had bronchitis, at 8 y/o the school put you on prozac for a teachers peace and quite or an enemy to know if they put some peanut in your salad you will die. You can have that type of country not me.
    I for one will never let the government tell me have to and can't buy.

     
  • Lunacy Watch posted at 7:44 am on Thu, Jul 1, 2010.

    Lunacy Watch Posts: 176

    A new problem now arises in that people who have developed illnesses or received treatment for continuing conditions under the now discontinued plan may now find themselves with "pre-existing" conditions, precluding them from future enrollment or making health insurance itself unaffordable. Why supposedly rational and intelligent people would ever support such a system is truly mystifying.

     
  • taxpayer posted at 12:20 am on Thu, Jul 1, 2010.

    taxpayer Posts: 343

    another reason why medicare should be open to all

     
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