Cadillac insurance plan
Informally, a Cadillac plan is any unusually expensive health insurance plan, usually arising in discussions of medical-cost control measures in the United States. The term derives from the Cadillac automobile, which has represented American luxury since its introduction in 1902, and as a health care metaphor dates to the 1970s. The term gained popularity in the early 1990s during the debate over the Clinton health care plan of 1993, and was also widespread during debate over possible excise taxes on "Cadillac" plans during the health care reforms proposed during the Obama administration. (Bills proposed by Clinton and Obama did not use the term "Cadillac".)
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010) imposes an annual 40% excise tax on plans with premiums exceeding $10,200 for individuals or $27,500 for a family (not including vision and dental benefits) starting in 2018.
Criticisms of these plans generally center on the small or nonexistent co-pays, deductibles, or caps that encourage the overuse of medical care, driving the cost up for the uninsured or those on other plans, which some say necessitates a Cadillac tax.
A study published in Health Affairs in December 2009 found that high-cost health plans do not provide unusually rich benefits to enrollees. The researchers found that only 3.7% of the variation in the cost of family coverage in employer-sponsored health plans is attributable to differences in the actuarial value of benefits. Only 6.1% of the variation is attributable to the combination of benefit design and plan type (e.g., PPO, HMO, etc.). The employer's industry and regional variations in health care costs explain part of the variation, but most is unexplained. The researchers conclude "…that analysts should not equate high-cost plans with Cadillac plans, but that in fact other factors—industry and cost of medical inputs—are as important in predicting whether a plan is a high-cost plan. Without appropriate adjustments, a simple cap may exacerbate rather than ameliorate current inequities."
- Beam, Christopher (2009-10-14). "Do I have a "Cadillac Plan"? An Explainer health care FAQ". Slate.
- Abelson, Reed (2009-09-20). "A Tax on Cadillac Health Plans May Also Hit the Chevys". New York Times.
- Hit, Greg (2009-09-26). "House Weighs 'Cadillac-Plan' Tax". Wall Street Journal.
- Gold, Jenny (2010-01-15). "'Cadillac' Insurance Plans Explained". Kaiser Health News.
- Jon Gabel, Jeremy Pickreign, Roland McDevitt, and Thomas Briggs, "Taxing Cadillac Health Plans May Produce Chevy Results," Health Affairs, web exclusive, Published online December 3, 2009, doi:10.1377/hlthaff.2008.0430
- Understanding the Health Care Excise Tax, The Bottom Line (Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget)
- Cost of the Finance Committee Health Care Bill
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