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Local News

July 19, 2013

Otsego tallies costs of new health law

(Continued)

Obama’s promotion of the legislation, which he shepherded and now has delayed for larger employers, came after House Republicans argued it was unfair to postpone the requirements for businesses but not for the individual health care buyers and maneuvered to push back the mandates for both individuals and employers. The White House has vowed to veto any such measure, although the proposal to delay the requirements across the board is expected to be bottled up in the Senate.

Obama argued opponents of the law have sought to politicize the issue while ignoring its benefits.

Earlier this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a political ally of the Democratic president, declared that persons who purchase health insurance plans on their own are expected to end up with reduced premiums in 2014 as a result of the new federal mandates.

State officials project that only about 17,000 individuals currently buy health insurance on their own. Approximately 2.6 million New Yorkers lack health insurance.

Bachman said a survey of Otsego County workers is showing that those employees who have no coverage tend to be younger persons who want to increase the size of their paycheck by avoiding the cost of participating in the plan.

Each worker with an individual plan contributes $133.67 per month. The yearly per-employee cost to the county for contributing to the individual plan is $6,416 - or just under $100,000 for every 15 workers.

Bachman said the federal law requires employers to offer insurance at a cost that cannot exceed more than 9.5 percent of the worker’s monthly gross salary.

The new law also created the Patient-Centered Outcome Research Institute that is charged with providing research into the effectiveness, risks and benefits of various medical treatments. That program, in the first year, is to be funded by a $1 fee on each person covered by an employer’s plan. The rate will increase to $2 per year in the second year.

For Otsego County, that means the county treasury will have to kick in an additional $1,537 to cover the 1,537 persons now covered by county medical insurance, Bachman said.

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