It's that time of year again. Lucky us. Some of you asked why IBM delayed the enrollment and why weren't they changing the offerings for retirees. I am guessing about why they delayed enrollment. Healthcare reform starts to kick in next year and impacts more about current employees than retirees. IBM HR is probably looking at what they need to do to comply such as perhaps offering supplemental IBM employees health insurance and/or negotiating with insurance companies on how the reforms will affect premiums. Again, it is my guess that is what is causing the delay.
There is nothing in heathcare reform that affects IBM retiree medicare offerings. Notice, they did not say they were keeping the price of offerings the same - just the offerings itself. They are probably negotiating with private insurance companies on the price of the Medicare Advantage offerings (eg, HMO and PPO offerings). The government is not going to reduce the "extra" subsidies for these plans in 2011 but is also not going to increase them either - as was done in previous years (and is an outrage that taxpayers should have been screaming about). Nonetheless, private insurance companies are raising their premium rates and blaming it on healthcare reform. How ethical.