Employers Packaging Next Year’s Benefits Plans Confront Overhaul
Some employers are finding that the health coverage they buy for their employees is changing, and that the health law may be responsible, KUOW, a Washington state NPR-affiliate, reports. "Many Americans get their health care through work. And usually about this time, employers, especially big companies, shop for medical insurance for next year's benefits package. Many are finding that their premium rates will go up." While not every employer blames the new law, one executive said the carriers she's dealing with say the rate hikes are attributable to new requirements such as coverage of preventive services, and extending benefits to adult children (Luna, 8/26).
The Dallas Morning News has the scoop on how one group of employers is fighting back. "Nine large North Texas employers" - including Haggar Clothing, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, and two municipalities - "have formed a partnership to help each other get a grip on rising health care costs." To do it, they'll be "collecting more detailed employee health data, reorganizing how they manage benefits and purchasing only the most needed health options to keep workers healthy and out of doctor offices." Their partnership will also address health law requirements, like the one for covering preventive care (Roberson, 8/26).
The Wall Street Journal: One thing employers are finding is that it may be in their best interest to embrace the overhaul, rather than try to use a "grandfathering" provision to keep their insurance plans unchanged. "While employers opting not to grandfather their health plans will soon have to cover all the costs for certain preventive care services, among other requirements, they will also have more flexibility to increase their workers' financial responsibility for premiums and medical bills than those who choose to maintain existing coverage" (Wisenberg Brin, 8/25).
Business Insurance: Many plan to do just that. "Nearly two-thirds of employers say they intend to make health care plan design changes to shift more costs to employees in 2011, according to a survey released Wednesday. The Aon Consulting survey found that 65% of respondents plan to increase cost-sharing through actions such as boosting deductibles, copayments, coinsurance or out-of-pocket limits. In addition, 57% said they expect to boost health care plan premiums paid by employees" (Geisel, 8/25).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.