Et tu Obama?



Didn’t you take some secret joy when the smartest kid in the room got the answer wrong…aloud…standing up…in front of everyone else? (I know, a number of you were the smartest kid but this applies anyway).


The smartest kids in the room, the Harvard University Arts and Science Faculty, is aghast at what they have done to themselves. Of course it’s not their fault.


It seems the logical consequences of Obamacare are beginning to manifest themselves in changes to the healthplan that covers the Harvard faculty. Seems their deductibles are increasing, their networks are morphing, favorite providers are dropping out. We could commiserate were it not for the fact that many members of the Harvard University Arts and Science Faculty were instrumental in drafting the Affordable Care Act and even more championed the concept as a way to contain healthcare costs.


Robert Pear, writing in the January 5, 2015 edition of The New York Times, reports that the rationale of the Benefits Committee is falling on deaf ears when it comes to actual change. Many understand the need when applied to the rest of us but they never thought it would apply to them. For instance, sociology professor Mary Walters acutely observes,


“It seems that Harvard is trying to save money by shifting costs to sick people. I don’t understand why a university with Harvard’s incredible resources would do this. What is the crisis?” Professor Walters continues, “It is tantamount to a pay cut…This pay cut will be timed to come at precisely the moment you are sick, stressed or facing the challenges of being a new parent.” Imagine, shifting costs to sick people.


Jerry R. Green, a professor of economics and a former provost who has been on the Harvard faculty for more than four decades, said the new out-of-pocket costs could lead people to defer medical care or diagnostic tests, causing more serious illnesses and costly complications in the future.


And Professor Richard Thomas, one of the world’s leading authorities on Virgil (no, I didn’t know there was one either) says the changes are “deplorable, deeply regressive, a sign of corporatization of the university.”


And so what changes have brought the Harvard brave to the battlements? Well, their deductibles are skyrocketing to $250 (mine is $5,000), their office visit copays soar to $20 and their out of pocket limit will now be $1,500. Actuaries say the plan will pay 91 percent of the cost of services while the most popular plans on the exchanges, known as silver plans, pay 70 percent. It’s so rich that beginning in 2018, the faculty will have to pay the Obamacare “Cadillac Tax” …the tax Harvard recommended for the rest of us.


Please tell me these aren’t the smartest kids in the class.

Call us. We can do better (who couldn’t).

William Faris, JD
Chief Executive Officer

Posted in Bill's Favorite Files, OMCA