Well, sort of kind of. This is the first step Franciscan University of Steubenville has taken to reduce costs and avoid the ObamaCare mandates specific to contraception. Franciscan is a very small school with about 2,500 students so I’m not sure this is a huge deal, but I tell ya … it’s exactly what President Obama and the liberal/statist/socialists want.
Hat tip to our buddy Ed Morrissey who claims this may be a bellwether, but I’m not so certain since I’ve never even heard of Franciscan University in Ohio. Then again, maybe these small Catholic universities (lower case “u” for the CUA Cardinals out there) have not only First Amendment issues, but also have tighter financial budgets. That said, they – like others in the future – may choose to just opt out of the entire student health care insurance fight. They are not required to be involved, so when the federal government starts demanding things and screwing specifically with the First Amendment rights of the school, why not provide the kids directions to Washington, DC and redirect the anger?
The school – who right off the bat put the main focus on ObamaCare – writes to students…
The Obama Administration has mandated that all health insurance plans must cover “women’s health services” including contraception, sterilization, and abortion-causing medications as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Up to this time, Franciscan University has specifically excluded these services and products from its student health insurance policy, and we will not participate in a plan that requires us to violate the consistent teachings of the Catholic Church on the sacredness of human life.
Additionally, the PPACA increased the mandated maximum coverage amount for student policies to $100,000 for the 2012-13 school year, which would effectively double your premium cost for the policy in fall 2012, with the expectation of further increases in the future.
Due to these changes in regulation by the federal government, beginning with the 2012-13 school year, the University 1) will no longer require that all full-time undergraduate students carry health insurance, 2) will no longer offer a student health insurance plan, and 3) will no longer bill those not covered under a parent/guardian plan or personal plan for student health insurance. The current student health insurance plan will expire on August 15, 2012.
That said, a couple of questions remain. First, I assume they are continuing to cover employees and faculty at the school, but what are they doing concerning the mandate for them?
They also mention students traveling abroad and those involved with intercollegiate sports – they are a Division III school – will continue to be covered by a policy, but there are no details provided. What’s up with that?
Rest assured, more and more Catholic institutions will do the same. That’s the easy bet. I’ll place my meager day’s pay on many small businesses and companies choosing to just drop coverage for health insurance all together and pay the federal fine instead.
The federal government is fine with this, since we know Obama wants a federally-regulated, single payer system. They have publicly said this monster of a law is only step one. Concerning companies just getting out, I wrote the following about two weeks ago.
[O]ffering health care benefits is a pain in the ass. Companies have teams of employees who spend hundreds and hundreds of hours researching options and working with providers to come up with plans. Then, you have what I’ll refer to as “the employee morale problem” when people bitch and moan about the plans they have to choose from. They compare the plans offered to other employers – or maybe state/federal employees – who only have to pay a $20 co-pay for doctor visits and $25 for a visit to the ER. Even if you offer a good plan, employees still might complain.
Then, if you’re a company that is self-insured, you have to ensure you have cash on hand to pay out claims. Some of those claims can be big money.
Then there is the cost. The rising costs that employees don’t see. When health care costs go up, employers can not just blindly absorb those costs, they are past on with higher prices to consumers, reductions in benefits to employees, and lower pay raises in the future.
But now that the Obama administration in all its wisdom have offered employers an opt-out that will only cost them $2,000 per employee, it’s only a matter of time before one or two pull the trigger. Then, domino effect. Why not off-load all of those issues to the government for two grand?
For those companies who do not hand over the health care administration and costs to the federal government, soon shareholders will demand they do so. You think I’m kidding? If you have two companies with 25,000 employees each that compete in the same industry and one of them pays the fines and saves a couple of million dollars or more, the shareholders of the other company will quickly demand the same.