As healthcare reform evolves, we are seeing some interesting changes occurring as everyone takes a first, second, and third look at how they are functioning and the cost. There’s also the internal cost of monitoring the benefit area here too, and with large companies this may involved an entire department that is dedicated to the administration, legalities and so on of employer insurance. We have also seen a ton of benefits and other incentives offered through the employers too, all of which are not bad, but there are some that leave a lot of questions and some skirt around some real privacy issues too.
This is not to say that all employers will stop sponsoring health insurance as I think each will look at their own scenarios and perhaps there could be a reduction in where insurance is offered, based on wages, etc. paid to employees too. In some areas with marketing and incentives it has created perhaps some not so happy areas with technology playing it’s role and here lies one more area for the benefit department to be on top of what is legal, what can be done, etc. With the passage of GINA, healthcare assessments were thrown a left hook too as a patient’s past family history can no longer be included as the ruling stood to discriminate over a person’s genetic background and when analytics enter the picture, possibly some of this information could be seen as interference or not abiding by all areas of the law.
GINA Begins November 21st – Medical Histories And Financial Benefits Not Allowed
Under the rules, group health plans, in seeking information for wellness programs, cannot attach a request for family medical history to any penalty or, as is far more common, any benefit. I have some acquaintances that are happy about the possibility of not having the administrative headache with running their small businesses. Long and short of all of it is that the process has evolved into an administrative nightmare that nobody likes and it takes time to review all the contracts and look for different options too to make sure they are making a good selection(s). While we talk about the small employers here, as mentioned in this article there could be some big ones bailing too.
The whole process of what employee benefit packages were set out to be years ago has evolved way beyond the initial design and with current technologies and economics today perhaps there’s a change in the air. BD
Millions of American workers could discover that they no longer have employer-provided health insurance as ObamaCare is phased in. That's because employers are quickly discovering that it may be cheaper to pay fines to the government than to insure workers.
AT&T, Caterpillar, John Deere and Verizon have all made internal calculations, according the House Energy and Commerce Committee, to determine how much could be saved by a) dropping their employer-provided insurance, b) paying a fine of $2,000 per employee, and c) leaving their employees with the option of buying highly-subsidized insurance in the newly created health-insurance exchange.
If this same worker goes to the health-insurance exchange, however, the federal government will pay almost all the premiums, plus reimburse the employee for most out-of-pocket costs. All told, the CBO estimates the total subsidy would be about $19,400—almost $17,000 more than the subsidy for employer-provided insurance.
In general, anyone with a family income of $80,000 or less will get a bigger subsidy in the exchange than the tax subsidy available at work.
John C. Goodman: Goodbye, Employer-Sponsored Insurance - WSJ.com
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