Weekend Reading: Charles Gaba: Ted Cruz and the Case of the Vanishing Health Plan

Charles Gaba: Ted Cruz and the Case of the Vanishing Health Plan: “GOP Senator Ted Cruz, the guy who hates Obamacare so much he shut the entire federal government…

…down just to prevent it from being implemented… told his campaign supporters that he and his family:
(1) had lost their Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas PPO insurance policy at the end of December;
(2) that the ACA was the ‘cause’ of their policy being cancelled; that he and his family are therefore no longer currently insured; and
(3) that the new policy which he’s (belatedly) decided to replace it with is going to cost 50 percent more than the old one[:]…
“I’ll tell you, you know who one of those millions of Americans is who’s lost their health care because of Obamacare? That would be me, Cruz told a Manchester, New Hampshire, audience: I don’t have health care right now. So our health care got canceled, we got a notice in the mail, Blue Cross Blue Shield was leaving the market. And so we’re in the process of finding another policy,”
Cruz said:
“I hope by the end of the month we’ll have a policy for our family. But our premiums — we just got a quote, our premiums are going up 50 percent. That’s happening all over the country. That’s happening in New Hampshire….
[But:]
(1) BCBSTX… announced… they were discontinuing individual PPO policies… back in July. If they missed the original announcement… the official termination notices… sent… in October g[a]v[e] the Cruz family ample time to enroll in a new policy….
(2) Health insurance carriers have discontinued products (ie, different policy offerings) for decades, just like any other retailer…. It’s not like Apple is still offering the iPhone 3GS…. This is a normal thing in the free enterprise market which Sen. Cruz loves so much.
(3) The Cruz family has plenty of other options… using the District of Columbia’s SHOP exchange… where, as a government employee, he… [could get] 75 percent employer-subsidized policy….
(4) Cruz had… from as early as late July (when the PPO drop was first announced) or mid-October (when the termination notices were sent out) until as late as December 17th to figure out which alternate type of coverage they were gonna move to….
(5) None of BCBSTX’s policies went up more than 19 percent…. Texas’s average full-price premiums have only gone up 6.2 percent for… [the] ACA exchange….
Richard Mayhew noted that… “the Cruz family [should have been]… passively mapped to a new policy during the autorenewal process….
Well… Louise Radnofsky….
“Ted Cruz has health insurance, and he had it all along, his campaign said Friday night, reversing what the presidential candidate said a day earlier…. Cruz had… been automatically enrolled by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas in [an]… ‘health maintenance organization’ plan…. That’s what the insurer said it did for all customers in his situation…. Cruz recently arranged to get a new policy that is closer to the kind of coverage he had before, and will be a Humana enrollee effective March 1 in one of their wider-network PPO plans. That’s what will cost him around 50% more than he was paying in 2015, Ms. Frazier said….”
This certainly answers a few questions… while raising a few others:
First of all… Cruz… was never without coverage in the first place. If Cruz knew about this, he was lying to the audience. If he didn’t know…. You’re gonna seriously tell me that he paid no attention to his own family’s insurance coverage situation? OK….
Second: Since his… family was ‘cross-walked’ over to a BCBSTX HMO… an invoice for their January premium sometime in December…. Did the Cruz family somehow never receive their invoice? Did they somehow pay it without realizing it… in the $1,000/month range?…
Third: OK, I’m willing to give Cruz a ‘half apology’ for the ’50 percent hike’…. It’s entirely possible that the Humana PPO… does indeed have premiums 50 percent higher…. There’s three important caveats…. First… which BCBS PPO plan….Was it Platinum? Gold? Silver? Dental included? Etc. Second… which Humana PPO…. Is it truly a close equivalent? If the premium really is 50 percent higher, what about the deductible? Has that shrunk proportionately? Third: Even if the Humana PPO really is 50 percent higher… ‘apples to apples’… he could… get a hefty discount on… the DC SHOP exchange… offerings… PPO[s]… 14… to choose from, which include nationwide coverage including Texas at the Silver, Gold or Platinum levels.

Originally published on bradford-delong.com