City Workers of Bel Aire, Kansas, Losing Health Care They Like
"It is difficult to present dedicated employees with declining health coverage with a higher premium."
Today, Congressman Mike Pompeo, R-Kansas, released communications he received from Ty Lasher, the city manager of Bel Aire, Kansas, describing the terrible impact of the Affordable Care Act on city workers. Contrary to President Obama’s promise that “if you like your health-care plan, you can keep it,” the city manager of Bel Aire, Kansas, revealed that city's 30+ employees have just received notice that because of the Affordable Care Act, their current insurance will no longer be available. The text of the email is below:
“Bel Aire is a small city of approximately 7,000 residents. We have about 30 full-time employees and a number of part-time staff that are all very attached and dedicated to our organization. We just received notice that the health-insurance coverage employees receive through Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) is no longer available. Everyone liked that plan which had very good benefits.
“Now, BCBS offers other plans that we can choose from based on the government’s standards. All offer higher deductibles and the two closest to our old plan each cost more than what we were paying. In addition, because we are under 50 employees, we no longer get a ‘group’ rate so everyone is being judged as a single.
“We have some long-term employees who are older and seeing their rates double. We are also seeing families paying more based on the number of children they have. We had a couple of employees who worked 20 hours a week and the city still allowed them on our health coverage plan.
“Now, BCBS said they will not cover anyone unless they work more than 30 hours per week. Therefore, those part-time employees will now lose their health coverage. To top it off, we were told if more than 25% of our ineligible employees choose to go elsewhere for their insurance, they will drop us, and all of our employees will have to go to the insurance exchange.
“As you are probably aware, governments typically pay a lower wage in exchange for better benefits. Now, our health insurance benefits are being eroded which may lead to a larger turnover in employees.”
Lasher continued: “I simply wanted you to know the pain this is causing me and my staff in losing the terrific health coverage we had through Blue Cross Blue Shield in exchange for worse coverage at a higher price. As you know, it is difficult to present dedicated employees with declining health coverage with a higher premium.”
Congressman Pompeo, who sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee which oversees the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, has been an outspoken critic of the law and its execution. During a recent hearing, he clashed with former Kansas Governor and current HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius over the claim that some insurance that people had and liked was not “true insurance.”
For more information, contact J.P. Freire at (202) 226-9952 or JP.Freire@mail.house.gov.