LAYTON — The Affordable Care Act is a law that is not "all bad" and will help people who have not been able to get health insurance, but the reality is premiums will go up for millions of people.
That message was delivered at the Utah Farm Bureau's convention Thursday at the Davis Conference Center, where members were given a 45-minute primer on the facts and fictions associated with what is commonly called Obamacare.
Steve Kammeyer is the National Farm Bureau's point man on the Affordable Health Care Act and has spent the past three to four years unraveling its complexities for 100,000 policyholders in eight states, including Utah.
Kammeyer urged members to foremost get their facts about the complicated law from reliable sources and not give in to "sound bites" from ultra-conservative and liberal media or even politicians themselves.
"It may be hard to say your insurance company is your best source of information, but your agent will know its impacts," he said.
Two things the controversial new law does not do, according to Kammeyer, are generally negatively impact seniors, despite the outcry to the contrary, or deliver any significant effects to farmers and ranchers beyond the ordinary population.
The first year's rollout of the plan embraced consumer friendly changes that in some cases were good, such as removing lifetime benefit caps or allowing adult dependent children to remain on a parent's plan longer, he said.
But the "friendly" aspects of the plan were initiated in the early stages by design, Kammeyer said, and now the coming stages will include mandates and changes that are tough for both average consumers and health insurance companies.
He said the law mandates lumping every person into the same "pool" and does not allow insurance companies to make adjustments for gender, age or risk, resulting in lower costs for an older person, for example, but higher costs for someone in their 20s.
But what it does do, Kammeyer noted, is enable some families with serious medical issues to find plans that can save them hundreds of dollars a month and help people who couldn't previously find coverage.
Finally, Kammeyer urged people to no longer casually toss that letter aside from their health insurance company, even though it may be tempting, because it is critical to stay informed.
"Know your options," he said.