Friday, February 04, 2011

City of San Angelo Adds to Texas Uninsureds

Forty five San Angelo City workers, dependents and retirees joined America's legions of uninsureds as of January 1.  They couldn't shoulder massive premium increases, ranging from 34% to 58% for dependent coverage. 

The forty five join 6.2 million Texans or  25.6% of the population who have no health insurance claims 393 Texans received coverage through the Preexisting Condition Insurance Plan. That addresses .00065% of the problem.  The City of San Angelo's forty five person drop negated 11% of's statewide improvement.

Irony grows with the City's approval for federal Early Retiree Reinsurance Program (ERRP) funding.  The City plans to bank ERRP reimbursement until December 31, 2011, before using the money to reduce premiums or increase benefits.  Checks from Uncle Sam will likely be smaller for 2011 given 44 early retirees canceled coverage, dropped dependents or decreased their plan level.  That's roughly 17% of the total covered, likely meaning less federal ERRP dollars for 2011.  

There will be much pain between now and 2014.  Texas' legions of uninsureds will stress safety net hospitals, forcing many to close or sell out on the cheap to their for-profit brethren.  As politicians offer little more than hot air, more people will be on their own.  Many will go without coverage and care.  It's predictable but rarely noted, much less reported.

Ty Meighan, Public Information Officer, provided the following data:

Active Employees:

722 = No Change
37 = Canceled Coverage All Together
12 = Added Dependents or Increased Plan Level
128 = Decreased Dependents or Decreased Plan Level
1 = Dropped Dependents & Increased Plan Level
900 total

165 or 18.3% canceled, decreased dependents or decreased plan level

Under 65 Retirees:

206 = No Change
4 = Canceled Coverage All Together
5 = Increased Plan Level
38 = Dropped Dependents or Decreased Plan Level
1 = Dropped Dependent and Increased Plan Level
254 total

42 or 16.5% canceled, decreased dependents or decreased plan level

Over 65 Retirees:

216 = No Change
4 = Canceled Coverage All Together
220 total

Update 2-5-11:  Uninsured city workers and retirees may have to pay up to $100 to be seen at the City's Employee Health Clinic.  They've paid $10 per visit in the past.  Council authorized management to negotiate a new fee, specifying it be between $10 and $100.  Open enrollment occurred in December, when employees did not have information on this change.  Mayor Alvin New didn't want to incentivize employees to be uninsured.  Did he fail to see how increasing dependent premiums 34 to 58% would do that very thing?  The drip of health care pain continues for many.

No comments: