August 21 2013
In a one-two punch, today the University of Virginia announced that it would no longer offer health insurance coverage to "spouses who have access to coverage through their own employer" and then shipping giant United Parcel Service (UPS) announced the same.
Starting Jan. 1, this means tens of thousands of married working people will not get to keep the coverage they like, despite the President's promises. It also means that more families with have to deal with the administrative headache of having different family members on different plans. This has implications for deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums, and of course, premiums.
Both UVA and UPS (and other employers) cite ObamaCare or "federal health reform" as they call it, in their announcements. ObamaCare requires large employers to cover employees and dependent children. Forget spouses.
Stories like these underscore the ways Americans' choices in health insurance are limited. Even before ObamaCare, most Americans chose whatever plan their employer offered because buying on the individual market would not afford them the same coverage (due to a tax disadvantage).
At least in families with two working spouses, there was a choice: Both on his plan, both on her plan, or the divided option. There's fewer choices for those families now, even if they are still lucky enough to both have full-time jobs.
While our health insurance system is incredibly messed up, we have to recognize that limiting options for people (rather than expanding options) is a move in the wrong direction.