There is no doubt about it, the current system is no longer working-at least its not working for everyone. According to the Employee Benefits Research Institute, while there is a general, overall stability in the system of employer-sponsored
The effects of high healthcare costs go far beyond insurance premiums. In fact, impossibly high
- First, even brief lapses in insurance coverage may be ruinous and should not be viewed as benign. While forty-five million Americans are uninsured at any point in time, many more experience spells without coverage. We found little evidence that such gaps were voluntary. Only a handful of medical debtors with a gap in coverage had chosen to forgo insurance because they had not perceived a need for it; the overwhelming majority had found coverage unaffordable or effectively unavailable. The privations suffered by many debtors-going without food, telephone service, electricity, and
healthcare-lend credence to claims that coverage was unaffordable and believe the common perception that bankruptcy is an “easy way out.”
- Second, many
healthinsurance policies prove to be too skimpy in the face of serious illness. We doubt that such underinsurance reflects families’ preference for risk; few Americans have more than one or two healthinsurance options. Many insured families are bankrupted by medical expenses well below the “catastrophic” thresholds of high-deductible plans that are increasingly popular with employers. Indeed, even the most comprehensive plan available to us through Harvard University leaves faculty at risk for out-of-pocket expenses as large as those reported by our medical debtors.
- Third, even good employment-based coverage sometimes fails to protect families, because illness may lead to job loss and the consequent loss of coverage. Lost jobs, of course, also leave families without
healthcoverage when they are at their financially most vulnerable.
- Finally, illness often leads to financial catastrophe through loss of income, as well as high medical bills. Hence, disability insurance and paid sick leave are also critical to financial survival of a serious illness.
In light of this situation, where a lapse in healthcare coverage can have catastrophic effects, what can you, as the small business employer, do to protect your employees’ access to affordable healthcare without risking bankruptcy yourself?
Be Proactively Pro-Health
How much of the illness and injury that people suffer is preventable? As much as 70% of it. Surprised? According to a study by
- A reduction in
healthcare benefit use and healthcare costs.
- Lower rates of absenteeism.
- Reduced injuries and worker’s compensation/disability claims.
- Increased morale and loyalty.
- Higher productivity.
Wellness programs at work don’t have to be complex or all-inclusive, but they should promote general
Yes, as elementary as it sounds, the advice your mother gave you about always shopping around applies here. Find the best deal you can and work from there. Start with the Internet, ask around and consult your local independent insurance agent.
Join the Crowd
One of the best ways to lower premiums is to join a group
Saving for a Healthy Future
One of the most popular alternatives today is the
To qualify to establish a
Those who benefit the most from
Cutting Costs by Cutting Coverage
When all else has failed, cutting coverage may be necessary. This does not necessarily have to mean a wholesale cutting of benefits, though that is usually what the phrase “cutting coverage” implies and doing that will certainly cut
Be sensitive to the needs of your employees and see what areas of the healthcare benefit they need most. If you can cut around those areas, that will minimize the impact of the cuts on your people. Doing this may also give you an idea of how to maximize your coverage while minimizing, as much as possible, the cost.
The Bottom Line
There are a number of individual things you can do to reduce the cost of healthcare benefits, but you should also consider a combination approach with a wellness program as well as one or more of the cost-cutting alternatives. If you manage this right, deal with the issue of
Source by Charles Cooper