Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Problems with Employer-Based Health Care

Ebri Stephen Blakely (EBRI) has just posted on SSRN an excellent summary of the challenges of employer-based health care.  The article is Employers, Workers, and the Future of Employment-Based Health Benefits.  Here's the abstract:

This paper summarizes presentations at EBRI’s 65th biannual policy forum, held in Washington, DC, on Dec. 10, 2009, on the topic, “Employers, Workers, and the Future of Employment-Based Health Benefits.” The forum brought together a wide range of economic, benefits, management, and labor experts to share their expertise at a time when major health reform legislation was being debated in Congress. The focus: How might this affect the way that the vast majority of Americans currently get their health insurance coverage? Most people who have health insurance coverage in the United States get it through their job: In 2008, about 61 percent of the nonelderly population had employment-based health benefits, 19 percent were covered by public programs, 6 percent had individual coverage, and 17 percent were uninsured. One point of consensus among both labor and management representatives: Imposing a tax on health benefits is likely to cause major cuts in health benefits and might result in structural changes in the employment-based benefits system. A common disappointment voiced at the forum was that the initial effort to reform the delivery and cost of health care in America gradually became focused on just financing and coverage of health insurance. The ever-rising cost of health insurance affects different employers and workers in different ways--with small employers and low-wage workers being the most disadvantaged. Small employers, if they offer health benefits at all, pay proportionately more than large employers for the same health coverage. While large employers tend to express continued commitment to health benefits, small employers see themselves strongly disadvantaged by the current system. Consultants report many employers privately want to drop benefits to control costs, but realize there are risks to doing so and none wants to be first. Employers express strong interest in wellness and disease management programs as a way to control costs, even though some experts say there is no evidence these work. Consumer-driven health plans are expected to continue their slow rate of growth.

rb

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Comments

"pre-existing condition" that private healthcare insurers do not see as a "normal" part of one's life in this country?

Posted by: malpais beach costa rica | May 25, 2010 10:43:13 AM

Hello, I am having problems with my employer. I have paid the high premiums for health care for my son and I and recently got married in February. One week after I was married I added my husband to my health plan which I am already paying a whole family premium on. My husband got ill 5 months later and I was surprised to see he did not have medical coverage due to my employer being lazy and not sending proper paper work I filled out. Now the past 2 months I have called my HR department and left countless messages only to find that I am being ignored. Who is going to pay now. I dont know what to do. If you have any suggestions please help. Thank You

Posted by: Ashley | Aug 31, 2010 10:59:54 PM

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