UnderCover Waitress: Financial Times Warns Against Darden Health Insurance

Monday, October 1, 2012

Financial Times Warns Against Darden Health Insurance

Big companies including Sears and Darden Restaurants are getting some attention for their plans to offer employees cash to purchase whatever health care plan they can find for themselves online.  While at first blush this may seem benign, and I can hear workers pontificating about wanting to choose for themselves, I assure you this is a recipe for disaster.
This is not an attempt to give workers choice and autonomy. This is nothing more than a cost-cutting measure by the employer. This new plan
"...has raised concerns among consumer advocates and some analysts that low-wage workers will be at risk if they choose their plans poorly and if the healthcare money given by their bosses does not keep pace with medical costs." 
Please don't be offended by the advocacy groups discussing low-wage workers choosing their plans poorly. This is not about "just a stupid waitress." This is about insurance companies paying gobs of money to lawyers and other analysts to craft plans that will make a profit. That just means you don't get the care you need when you make a claim: you get denied.

When the middle and upper-middle classes choose their plans poorly, and they are just as likely to, the end up paying out of pocket for all of the things that are not covered. Or they put it on a credit card, and pay it off for the rest of their lives or go bankrupt. The poor, on the other hand, are simply denied care due to inability to pay.

Darden gets to say which health care plans you get to "freely choose." I'll bet they are more concerned about saving money and less concerned about ensuring that their employees have access to medical care when they need it.
"“It’s basically a voucher leaving people to fend for themselves,” Carmen Balber, of the healthcare advocacy group Consumer Watchdog, said.
“Only after many employees face bankrupting medical debt – a phenomenon that will increase as the employer contribution buys ever less insurance – will the implications be clear,” he said.
Also unclear is if the switch to private exchanges will reduce medical costs overall."
Well, I certainly do not think cheap plans will reduce medical costs, because doctors and hospital administrators want to make money. As long as we keep access to medical care in the private sector, there will be a constant battle between insurance companies and medical professionals over how much money the doctor gets to make. It is the low wage workers and the poor who suffer the most in this situation.
"Les Funtleyder, healthcare analyst and fund manager at Polliwog, said that shifting responsibility on to low-wage workers as a way to cut costs was unlikely to work because doctors and hospitals have incentives to make them spend more." 
Darden is not concerned about the welfare of it's employees. Darden is trying to save money. With this new health exchange group of plans, Darden can fault and turn it's back on any employees whose injuries, cancer, medical problems are not covered by what the employee "freely chose." They can say, "we gave you the money, I guess you didn't spend it wisely enough."

Of course, these shenanigans will stop if we keep Obama in office. When 2014 comes, people have access to medical care without jumping through hoops and having for-profit bean counters scrutinizing their medical histories looking for reasons to deny coverage. Unless, of course, Mittens wins. He'll do whatever the highest bidder tells him to do.

If you would like to read the full article from which I quoted above, The Financial Times requests you use the following link. You will need to register, but it is free and you can use a throw-away email address, if you prefer. You will need to access the email once to confirm registration. 



  1. You do realize that with Obama care you don't get free health insurance, right?

    1. Absolutely. Obama is NOT offering anybody free health insurance. However, he is offering to rework the system so that everyone has access. People who do not have access to medical care today will have access to medical care if his policies, some of which are not yet in place, are not overturned.

      Affordable Care, not Free Care, will be paid in part by a tax and in part by unused funds that have already been singled out earmarked from Medicare.

  2. For many, many reasons, Mittens should not be elected to the presidency.

    If it happens, Canada's going to get a whole lot of refugees coming up fleeing from the hyperpartisan nuttiness south of the border.


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