HHS announced this week that 2,000 “groups” are eligible to receive money for “reinsuring” their retiree health programs. Only a third (32%) are private businesses, the rest are state and local governments (26%), unions (22%), “education” (I guess public universities) (14%), and non-profits (5%).
For years these organizations have been giving in to union demands for generous retirement benefits, but they haven’t been funding their promises. Hmmmm. What to do? What to do? I KNOW! We’ll have the Feds bail us out. They’ve got plenty of money!
So, ObamaCare appropriated $5 billion to offset some of the costs for a few selected organizations. The Feds will pay 80% of the claims costs for expenses between $15,000 and $90,000 for retirees between the ages of 55 and 65. But only if the groups “have in place programs and procedures that generate or have the potential to generate cost savings for participants with chronic and high-cost conditions.” In other words, only if the group is pleasing to the Administration.
In explaining the program, HHS noted that –
“The percentage of large firms providing workers with retiree health coverage dropped from 66 percent in 1988 to 29 percent in 2009. Many Americans who retire before they are eligible for Medicare without employer-sponsored health coverage see their life savings disappear because of medical bills and exorbitant rates in the individual health insurance market. Health insurance premiums for older Americans are over four times more expensive than those for young adults, and the deductible these enrollees pay is, on average, almost four times that in a typical employer-sponsored insurance plan.”
Of course, this program does absolutely nothing for any of those folks. Instead it gives extra money to the fat cat unions and giant employers that are currently enjoying very rich benefits.