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Letters to the editor 073114

To the editor:

How much out of every dollar that you pay in health insurance premiums do you want to go to your health care services? Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) there are requirements that prevent excessive overhead costs or profits. One of the intents of the law is to bring down health care costs.

The 2011 rule states that policies covering individuals or small businesses can only spend up to 20 percent on administrative costs or profit. Large group plans can only spend up to 15 percent of premiums on administrative costs or profit. Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield individual health insurance policy holders were rebated $652,000 from their Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa. Coventry is paying more than $1.1 million to employers who paid for group insurance policies in Iowa.

With rebates and other requirements in the law, health care costs have steadily declined since the 2011 Affordable Care Act was implemented.

Julie Stewart Ziesman

Waukee

To the editor:

I would like to say thank you to Brenna Young of Park Place Catering and Perry of the Italian Villages of Adel for hosting two great fundraisers.

One for the Childrens’ Cancer Connection on May 3 and the other for the Adel Fire Department on June 7. Ten percent of the proceeds from the Villages went to them.

Then, the dance/music at Park Place (in the city park by the river) where the night’s proceeds went to these organizations.

We attended both fundraisers and was very disappointed that more people didn’t attend. Only four people attended the dance for Childrens’ Cancer Connection (Kirbie from the organization attended that evening).

Then once again we attended the Adel Fireman’s fundraiser at the Villages and then to the park. Only seven people attended and only one fireman and a family of four, making a total of 12.

I know there are a lot of things going on but such a low showing of people. Maybe they’ll see you at the next fundraiser?

Thank you once again Brenna and family of the Italian Villages and their workers.

Also, if anyone is interested in donating to these organizations here are the addresses:

Childrens’ Cancer Connection, 1221 Center Street, Suite 12, Des Moines, IA 50309.

Adel Fire Department, 102 S. 10th Street, Adel, IA 50003.

Martha Bosomworth

Adel

To the editor:

Politician or public servant? Lawyer or soldier? Washington or Iowa? Pretty easy choices I think, and so is the choice to reject the same old Bruce Braley and support Joni Ernst.

I have to chuckle about Braley’s efforts to “explain” his absence from VA hearings. He was at another hearing. Oh darn, the cameras show his chair as being empty at that one. Let’s play “Where’s Braley” and see if you can find him. Oh, I think I see him over there at a fundraiser.

Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Can we honestly say that what Washington needs to fix its problems is more lawyers and career politicians?

Let’s send a fresh voice to Washington. Let’s send an Iowa farm girl who shares our values. Let’s send Joni.

Jon McAvoy

Adel

To the editor:

Our employer based health insurance system has evolved over the past seventy years. Employers, once happy with the recruitment and retention value of group health benefits, dislike the hassles of selecting and servicing their group plans and they dislike the unpredictable cost. Employees grumble about the cost, limited benefits, limited choice of providers, and lack of portability. These problems are inherent in defined benefit group health plans, the nearly universal type of plan currently used by employers. Iowa should switch to defined contribution, a.k.a. cash, group health plans. Cash plans limit employers’ decisions to selecting a group plan insurance company and designating their per-employee contribution. Employees buy their own individual health insurance on the exchange using their employer contributions. Cash plans operate very simply. During the coverage year employers send their employer and employee contributions to their plan insurer, just as they do now. The insurer transfers the contributions to the exchange to be “aggregated” to pay employees’ premiums. This approach preserves the tax treatment of both employer and employee contributions. In the event of job separation, the insurer simply bills the former employee directly making the insurance portable and a cheaper option than COBRA.

Starting 2016 Iowa’s model regulation for cash plans and the exchange’s aggregation will be limited to businesses with up to 100 employees. The Iowa Insurance Division in partnership with the Iowa Legislature could expand both to all sized Iowa businesses. At the same time they could set a single minimum MLR (medical loss ratio - the minimum percentage of gross premiums that must be spent on health benefits) of 85%. Currently the MLR for individual and small group health insurance is 80% and for large group insurance is 85%. A universal MLR of 85% would preserve the cost savings enjoyed by group enrollees and expand the savings to all Iowans.

How can Iowans get this? Consumer power! Employees, demand cash health plans from your employers. Employers, demand them from your insurance agents. Everyone, demand our state government maximize the value of health insurance for all Iowans.

Nicole Keller

Waukee

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