There’s more exciting news from the Zane Benefits press room this week. Zane Benefits was featured as an expert on employee benefits in a Huffington Post article Friday, sharing its view on why company-sponsored group health insurance is deteriorating—as well as why that deterioration ultimately benefits everyone.
The article, “Your Employer-Provided Health Care Could End with the GOP’s Plan,” discusses the proposed American Health Care Act. If passed, the legislation would end the requirement that companies with 50 or more employees must offer health insurance. That could swiftly cause a sea change in how many Americans receive their benefits, reporter Ann Brenoff writes.
But that shift is already occurring due to rising health insurance costs. In the article, Zane Benefits President and CEO Rick Lindquist tells Brenoff that while removing the employer mandate “is a very big deal,” smaller businesses have already begun scaling back coverage. In fact, an Urban Institute study found that coverage rates among businesses with fewer than 50 employees fell from 52.4 percent in 2000 to just 17 percent in 2012.
Even if the employer mandate remained, that trend would continue. And that would benefit both businesses, who would be free of the onerous costs of group health insurance, and employees, who would be free to choose the insurance policy that best works for them.
Below is an excerpt of the Huffington Post article. You can read the whole thing here.
No longer requiring companies to provide insurance would be the beginning of the end of health coverage tethered to our jobs, [Lindquist} told HuffPost.
Lindquist predicted that by 2025, 90 percent of the nation’s employers will no longer offer workers health insurance. And telling those companies that they don’t have to offer this benefit is where it begins …
Even if the mandate remained, employers find it increasingly enticing to ignore. It’s cheaper to pay the fine for not providing coverage than it is to follow the law and provide health benefits, Lindquist said.
He said he envisions a future where employers might provide a fixed amount of tax-free reimbursement for health insurance, and let employees find a plan that best suits them. As long as there are safeguards, like no exclusions for pre-existing conditions or age, workers may end up liking such a system better than what exists now, Lindquist said. Some employees would rather have their compensation be more flexible, and would prefer a raise to comprehensive health coverage, he said.