U.Va. Reduces Health Benefits, Cites Obamacare as Reason

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U.Va. Reduces Health Benefits, Cites Obamacare as Reason

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The University of Virginia placed the blame on the Obama Administration’s signature health care policy on Wednesday, stating in a report that due to “rising medical costs”, spouses of U.Va. employees could face removal from the University’s insurance coverage.

The cut in health care benefits is set to kick in on January 1st, 2014 when “spouses who have access to coverage through their own employer will no longer be eligible for coverage under U.Va.’s plan.“

“Spouses who do not have coverage elsewhere can remain on the employee’s plan, and coverage of children is not affected,” the report released by the University stated.

The announcement comes as the University braces for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, provisions of which the report states will “add $7.3 million to the cost of the University health plan in 2014 alone.”

“With U.Va. facing rising health care costs, spiking expenses of high-dollar claims and looming fees and taxes connected with federal health reform, the modifications are designed to maintain the quality of the plan and contain costs in the years ahead,” the report stated.

Among the other modifications to the U.Va. health plan include adding a third plan option, raising premiums and separating dental insurance into optional plans.

The University will also provide a $10 per month reward to Tobacco-free households and is moving enrollment dates from October to November.

Despite the projected price hikes, Madeline DuCharme, President of University Democrats at U.Va. , told The Virginia Advocate that she is “glad that U.Va. is following the Affordable Care Act’s lead in incentivizing a healthy lifestyle to defray the cost of expensive treatments, which is what is causing premiums to rise.”

“While it is unfortunate that U.Va. will no longer be able to cover employees’ working spouses, I think it is important to note that children and spouses who do not have health insurance of their own will still be covered under U.Va.’s plan,” she stated. “Nobody is losing health insurance, in fact the Affordable Care Act will make sure that all Americans have access to the health insurance they need.”

Elizabeth Minneman, President of the College Republicans at U.Va. disagrees, however, stating that “it’s unfortunate that a program President Obama claimed would reduce the cost of healthcare is now having the opposite effect across the country and in our own community.”

“The law makers who pushed Obamacare through need to step up and address these problems in order to maintain their promises to the American people,” she told The Virginia Advocate.

She emphasized that the “middle class will continue to carry the burden of these huge costs, as evidenced by the $7.3 million U.Va. has to cut out of their employee insurance program this coming year.”

For information on how your health plan will be affected, visit http://www.hr.virginia.edu/oe/oe-2014

Joel Taubman contributed to this story.

 By Arrianne Talma, Editor-in-Chief

 


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