Hidden Health Care Costs Surface

This past week my employer held its yearly benefits meeting to discuss any changes in our policy.  While most parts of our health coverage stayed the same there was one change that jumped out at me.  I was preparing to write about it here when I found a letter to the editor in the Telegraph that explained it perfectly.  You can read the letter in full HERE but I'd like to share a couple parts of the letter with you along with my comments on it.

My Democratic congressional representatives have told us taxes on the middle class would not go up to pay for the health care bill.

Very true.  Obama and the Democrats who pushed ObamaCare claiming it would lower our medical costs which many Democrats repeated time and time again.  Which leads us to the next point...

Last week, my employer informed us that, starting in 2011, the health care reform law makes all over-the-counter medicines ineligible for reimbursement from our medical flexible spending accounts without a doctor’s prescription.

Can you say hidden cost?

Anyone who used a flex spending account I'm sure understands right away what this means, those who don't here's the break down.  Every year you can choose to set a fixed amount you know will be used for medical costs aside in a pre-taxed account.  This lowers your base pay the government taxes on and could save you a substantial amount depending on how much per year you spend on medical costs.  In the past you could use that account to pay for not only doctor visits and treatment costs but for the purchase of over the counter medical supplies.  Things like aspirin, allergy medication, hair restoration treatments, humidifiers, back braces, bandaids, etc.  The Health Care bill now disallows that.  All the money you saved is now taxable or you are forced to contact your doctor to get them to write out a prescription for you to purchase such items in order for them to qualify for flex spending.  This takes up the doctors time that they could otherwise be using to treat patients and depending on your doctor could end up costing you even more if they require a visit with a co-pay before they'll write a prescription.

Under this new law, I will be paying $400 more in taxes because I can’t afford the time it takes to get prescriptions. I’m sure that’s what they wanted; get the middle class to pay for it and hope they don’t notice.

The lower and middle classes who have the most medical costs who need the tax breaks are the ones who will end up paying more as a result of this.  There are people who by putting that $500 or $1000 aside each year are able to lower their incomes down low enough to qualify for additional tax breaks and even earned income tax credits but now having that additional amount show as income it will cost them more in taxes.  This brings us back to the opening statement in the letter reminding us of the promise Democrats made when pushing their health care plan on us, that it would lower our costs, not increase them.