My attendance at one of the USG-Aon health exchange meetings on Tuesday, Aug. 18 provided a classic example of an effort to lull UGA retirees into complacency by not telling us all of the story. Or, at least not emphasizing the most important part of the story from the viewpoint of USG. Early on, the audience was informed that USG wanted to be certain that each retiree was provided the same payment for their health insurance in 2016 that USG paid for them in 2015. What the USG representative did not emphasize is that the retiree may now have to pay more in 2016 for that same health insurance, because we are no longer in the pool with the younger and presumably healthier active employees of USG.
Previously, active employees and retirees paid the same premium for the same health insurance plan. Now, the health insurance company will be allowed to discriminate among retirees depending upon their age, health history, gender and location. Apparently, there are differential costs for health care depending upon where you receive the health care. (Certainly, health insurance companies will be seeking other exceptions to increase premiums and their profits.) Bottom line: If you are older and have health problems, you can expect to pay more for your health insurance premiums.
They did not inform us of the amount of dollars USG is saving by casting its retirees adrift from the pool of all employees and retirees of USG. They also did not inform us how many millions Aon is receiving for this added layer of bureaucracy that USG retirees now face in getting health care. Neither USG nor health care insurers will pay Aon, so guess who will pay in increased premiums, reduced benefits or both. We can let you know about difficulties in clarifying charges, payments or receiving health care due to this added level of bureaucracy.
For any of us who wondered how the Republican voucher program of health care coverage might work, we now have the opportunity to experience it firsthand. When we were hired, we were promised that we would continue with a pension and with the same health care plan as when employed if we worked enough years. We wonder what happened to those promises. Verbal agreements were once honored in Georgia.