Q: I just got a notice that my Boeing retiree plan coinsurance will go up 10 percent next year and another 10 percent the year after that. My deductibles are skyrocketing. I think it all stems directly from “Obamacare.” How is that a better thing?
A: You were nice enough to send us a copy of the notice you got from Boeing, and indeed, your plan is changing just as you said. But it’s doubtful that the Affordable Care Act, what you call “Obamacare,” is to blame. And even with the changes to your plan, you still have very good coverage.
Your doctor office visit copay is also going from $15 to $20. And your drug copays are going up slightly as well. Your deductible is going up from $200 to $300 for an individual and from $600 to $900 for a family. Again, those numbers are not out of line with standard benefits.
Karen Forte, a spokeswoman for Boeing, said “absolutely not” when I asked her whether these changes stem from the new Affordable Care Act. “I think it’s convenient for people to think that because of the timing,” she added. “We’ve been struggling for years with health-care costs,” she said. “We’ve turned over every rock possible to look for savings. We’ve got competitors in other countries who don’t have to worry about health care costs.”
You may be surprised to know that the health-reform law is actually now subsidizing your retiree coverage. The Boeing Company is one of thousands of employers who have applied for and been accepted into the law’s Early Retiree Reinsurance Program. This program reimburses early retiree plans for a portion of the health costs of beneficiaries.
-- Nancy Metcalf, Senior Program Editor