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Paul Ryan, the Ohio Health Insurance Exchange and Miami University. What could they possibly have in common and why am I writing about it? I have to admit…the title is a bit odd, but I know a little bit about all three.

Of course, Paul Ryan is Mitt Romney’s running mate and nominee for Vice President of the US. And he also just happens to be a 1992 Miami University graduate with degrees in economics and political science. Long-time economics professor Richard Hart was one of his mentors while there.

As a 1980 graduate of Miami, I also was a business major although I don’t remember Professor Hart. But I did take many of the same classes as Ryan, and perhaps was taught by a few of the same professors. And I assume we took classes in many of the same buildings. But I have a feeling that he spent more time at the library than I did.

I am certain that Representative Ryan and I have crossed many of the same paths while at Oxford. Of course the “Bagel & Deli” shop is where Ryan stopped to eat on August 15th. I remember the place well, having ordered there about five times per week during my Miami stay. Delivery is a great feature about college eateries. Although I was not in a fraternity  and never drove the “Wienermobile”  as Paul did ( while he worked summers for Oscar Mayer), the memories we both share of Mother Miami are still quite fresh.

The Exchange?

By now, you may be wondering how the proposed Ohio Health Insurance Exchange fits in this discussion. Under existing legislation, the way you buy your health insurance will change in 2014. Currently, you can pick and choose among hundreds of available plans from more than a dozen reputable companies. You can pick and choose the benefits that YOU want and often exclude coverage you don’t need. You can apply for a policy at any time, and cancel your contract without worrying about non-compliance.

For example, if you’re in your 50s and simply don’t want to pay for maternity benefits, since it’s unlikely you’ll utilize it, you can pick plans that don’t charge you for that rider. Or, if you have been reasonably healthy and prefer to cover large medical claims instead of paying for office visit coverage you never use, you can choose a high-deductible catastrophic plan.  Do you want a $10,000 deductible? No problem. Do you prefer a cheap Ohio temporary health insurance plan that costs less than $50 per month? Consider it done!

In 2014, It All Changes

But in 2014, your choices will be drastically cut and you will be forced to pay for coverage you may not need or want. You’ll have to choose between a Platinum, Gold, Silver or Bronze plan. That’s it. Maternity and other benefits you may not want will be required on all policies. And yes, you’ll pay for that. Although tax incentives may help, premiums will go up and the number of providing physicians will probably decrease.

By now, everyone knows that Paul Ryan is one of the leading proponents of changing and improving our health insurance system, but in a much more cost-effective and consumer-friendly way than the current proposed changes. His ideology will reward healthy persons with personal health saving accounts that accumulate funds if you don’t use it. And unhealthy persons will be able to afford to purchase quality health care through the top health insurers.

Regardless of who wins the election, I do know this. Paul Ryan will be a major contributor to lowering our national budget, Miami University will still attract the brightest high school students, and I’ll continue to eat bagels. As for health insurance in Ohio,  you can count one one thing. You will continue to view the lowest rates on our website. You can buy direct, or with our help. And if you’re in the area, we’ll recommend a good bagel place as well!