Monday, March 15, 2010

Do You Have Employer-Based Health Insurance?

If so, big problems could be looming according to this March 12, 2010 article from the Washington Post:

Most big employers plan to shift a larger share of health-care costs to their workers next year, according to a survey released Thursday.

Many say they may charge more to cover spouses, tighten eligibility standards for their health plans and dispense financial rewards or penalties based on the results of certain lab tests. At some companies, overweight employees could be excluded from the most desirable plans.

Meanwhile, employees at many companies can expect significantly higher...deductibles...
In most cases, choosing a high-deductible plan has served as one way to make health insurance more affordable. As one with such a high-deductible policy, I know from personal experience that such a policy is significantly more affordable.

The end of the above-cited article in the Washington Post, however, warns that even high-deductible policies are in danger of becoming increasingly burdensome financially for the insured:
Employers and insurers have placed great hope in high-deductible plans, but the survey found that although companies can save money by switching to such plans, it now appears that over time their costs rise as fast as those for other types of coverage.
The article also points out that limits on covering spouses may be looming:
So-called spousal surcharges impose a fee if an employee's spouse enrolls in the company plan, despite having the option of getting coverage through his or her own job. The theory is that spouses who take advantage of the company plan are likely to be heavier consumers of health care. Twenty-eight percent of employers plan to use spousal surcharges next year, up from 21 percent this year, the survey found.
Read the entire article.

It looks to me as if employer-based insurance is moving in the direction of requiring those with employer-based insurance to face the same difficulties as those of us with private policies, long known to be policies with less coverage at a costly monthly premium, particularly if one has the dreaded pre-existing conditions, worded as "financial rewards or penalties based on the results of certain lab tests."

The article contains no mention of employer-based health insurance in the case of the government as employer, thus making the government as employer more attractive.

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posted by Always On Watch @ 3/15/2010 05:00:00 AM