Blue Cross CEO explains health care changes - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Blue Cross CEO explains health care changes

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Understanding what health care reform means for you or your business is no easy task... But the CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana is speaking to various groups to explain highlights of the 2000 page Health Care Reform Act.

BCBS CEO Mike Reitz explains ways it expands coverage but not without cost.  "You can't put 30 million people into the system that are not contributing now and create an entitlement program that you say we're going to give you free or we're going to give you premium assistance, without taxing, without a way to raise the revenue."

Reform means different things for different people..A few examples from Reitz:  "If you are 26 years of age or younger, you have access to your parent health insurance plan."  He says caps will be eliminated. "If you have a five million dollar benefit plan today with your insurance company, it's going to be unlimited in the future."

And regarding children Reitz says the bill, "took age 19 and under and stripped the industry away from its ability to evaluate risk."

Business people who belong to the Rotary Club of Lake Charles have many questions and concerns about what the law will require.

One businessman points out the obvious, "If I'm required to do that (pay more for employee premiums) just like everybody else I'm going to raise your prices to cover that."

Another asked about tax credits for small business to which Reitz responded, "If you go to the IRS web site there are premium tax credits available for small businesses now."

Reitz says a big issue still to be tackled is cost and waste. Thirty to forty per cent of health care costs today is considered waste. And he says seventy per cent of disease could be prevented if people would quit smoking, lose weight and exercise more.

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