By Jackie Nelson
The Hesston Chamber Luncheon featured Moundridge insurance agent Keith Schrag.
Schrag took on the topic of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as “Obamacare.”
Schrag said with the implementation of the ACA has spurred two insurance agencies to take the lead as the primary private insurers, Coventry and Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Schrag said the debate over national health care has continued well past the launch date.
“Obamacare is a hot topic. Experts were saying by October 17, we will have it figured out. The more research I have done, the more questions I have. Obviously, enrollment is not working properly and that is creating problems,” he said.
One of the key elements, said Schrag, was to work with the system, despite possible ideological objections.
“We need to put politics aside. People need insurance and this is a tool. At that standpoint, we are making headway. The other question are as an employee or an employer with health, vision, dental and retirement and if, as an employee, you didn’t get these things, would your wages be higher. Your average employer would offer either benefits or a wage that employees count on for healthcare costs,” he said.
While there have been glitches, Schrag said there are benefits coming from the ACA.
“One of the positive changes is the elimination of underwriting and preexisting conditions. There are SIC codes – Standard Industrial Classifications. Each employment sector has its own rating that can drive rates up 20 to 40 percent, and that is a significant factor that is going away,” he said.
However, not everyone is seeing a benefit from the elimination of SIC codes and preexisting condition coverage.
“This raises rates if employers have a young, male employment force. That will raise the rates may be $100 for a 21 year old male and $200 for female. Where we are seeing increases is on young males.
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