Do health benefits have a future at your workplace?

Are you worried about your employer cutting off health insurance or dramatically raising employee costs?

While it’s too early to proclaim the demise of job-based coverage, corporate number crunchers are looking at options that could lead to major changes, AP is reporting.

Gov. Phil Bredesen, D-Tenn., said the economics of dropping coverage are “about to become very attractive to many employers, both public and private,” AP writes.

At least one major employer has shifted a greater share of plan costs to workers, and others are weighing the pros and cons of eventually forcing employees to strike out on their own, AP reports.

That’s just not going to happen, White House officials say.

What do you say?

Would it be short-sighted for employers to drop health insurance? Or an understandable cost-cutting move?

How hard would you try to change jobs if your employer gave up health insurance?

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

51 comments Add your comment

George Bailey

October 25th, 2010
9:13 am

While it would be short sighted, it wouldn’t surprise me. With the number of people out of work, companies are in a position to do pretty much whatever they want. I don’t think it’s realistic to say that top performers will just switch jobs because of their health insurance. Companies know full well, that they can easily replace employees whenever they want, regardless of their health care plans.

Belinda

October 25th, 2010
9:39 am

It would not surprise me at all with the way health care costs keep rising so rapidly. Physician fees, hospital costs, procedure costs, pharmaceutical costs, medical supplies and equipment costs. How many people can afford it? And insurance premiums keeep going up right along with it. Who oversees what we are charged by doctors and hospitals and drug companies? How can we easily compare costs?

Alex Hawke

October 25th, 2010
9:47 am

Please… please…. folks… this was the exact outcome our government wanted with the recent health hijacking… for private control of your health coverage to simply be priced out of reach for both the company providing it as a benefit .. or the inidividual to purchase it.

You have been shuttled right into the meatpacking plant the Govt wanted you… their “plan”. Pray you don’t need it.

Bobby

October 25th, 2010
9:50 am

I don’t think we will get a really clear picture until late 2012 and early 2013. Congress can still tweak the plans until then if they see unintended consequences. We don’t know how the midterm elections this year will affect health care. So I think it’s mostly a matter of wait and see with a few headlines from time to time until the picture becomes clearer as we go into 2014 plan years.

Bob

October 25th, 2010
9:51 am

I have worked at Delta for over 20 years and am totally surprised our Finance weenies have not gotten health benefits chopped yet for current and retired employees. I guess after all of the union voting is finished would be a more appropriate time to issue the press release.

Seriously?

October 25th, 2010
10:11 am

Way to hop on the fear mongering bandwagon, AJC. Will you be taking your place alongside the Glenn Beck/Sarah Palin/Tea Party brigade? Oooh, so scared! Better do what the mega-rich people tell me to do!

TnGelding

October 25th, 2010
10:12 am

I don’t see it happening. Surely they are bigger and more forward thinking than that. After all, they initiated it. But with the global economy, who knows? We simply must make it cheaoer to do business in this country to remain competitive, as I’ve written before.

SPSU

October 25th, 2010
10:13 am

Can hardly wait until ObamaCare kicks in. The govt has done such an excellent job in SS, Medicare/Medicaid, USPS, Education, etc. They surely will do an excellent job in healthcare.

SPSU

October 25th, 2010
10:14 am

Love the pass to know what is in it by the Libs.

TnGelding

October 25th, 2010
10:16 am

Well, I proposed Medicare for all since it is already in place. The increase needed in taxes would be a lot less than what we’re paying for insurance and the insurance companies could fight over the Medigap coverage. But the tax is also going to have to be increased slightly to reimburse providers more adequately, and we beneficiaries are going to have to pay more in co-pays and deductibles..

TnGelding

October 25th, 2010
10:20 am

Social Security and Medicare have been funding the military/industrial complex for 27 years. Not a bad record. And look at the improved life expectancy after Medicare was founded. It’s good enough for the military, veterans, children and the poor, why not socialized medicine for all?

Read Between Line

October 25th, 2010
10:24 am

I don’t think people really understand, that many companies can drop your insurance coverage or raise costs anyway. I experienced it several years ago. Many of us in the so called middle class don’t really understand how much of our fates lies in the hands of our employer. Just think back to pension plans (Employer contributions decreasing, plans being cut, etc.) Big business runs this country and if we don’t wake up there will be no middle class! (This isn’t about fear, but who was the hardest hit by the recession?)

TnGelding

October 25th, 2010
10:27 am

ObamaCare is a misnomer. The GOP had more input than he did.

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/66331-gop-members-offer-amendment-to-force-congress-to-participate-in-public-plan

…and they had many others considered.

Tech Man

October 25th, 2010
10:58 am

Many companies will drop coverage to let their employees buy individual coverage either through or outside the exchange. Companies then do not have to worry about benefits questions taxing the HR department, medical inflation, keeping up with COBRA and other employer regulations.

The individuals will be left out in the cold unless the health agency force is used. Unlicensed “navigators” are not the answer.

Tech Man

October 25th, 2010
11:02 am

TnGelding
October 25th, 2010
10:27 am

What is the significance of your link? How many Republican amendments were dismissed. I stayed up all night watching amendment after amendment be tabled.

Kevin

October 25th, 2010
11:04 am

Gelding, I don’t see your point.

Your link is about the GOP forcing Congress to participate in the public option. They want Congress to live by the same miserable program they’re forcing on everyone else.

Try to blame the GOP all you want. But this flaming pile of crap that Obama, et al. forced on this country falls squarely in the laps of the Dems.

I hope that all of you that clung to the meaningless “Hope and Change” message are happy. Private employers will start cutting coverage and we’ll be forced into crappy public plans. I don’t blame Obama. I blame the moocher class that voted for him.

Steady

October 25th, 2010
11:09 am

Alex Hawke……you got it right, this was predicted by numerous organizations.

Guy Bailey

October 25th, 2010
11:13 am

As a British immigrant to the US I was at first bemused then outraged when I got to grips with the sick joke that is the US healthcare system.

Healthcare is a right, not a privilege people and the sooner the American public wake up, realize they are being hosed by the insurance companies and demand FREE, universal healthcare like the majority of Europeans enjoy, the better.

HR

October 25th, 2010
11:18 am

@ Seriously?

The overwhelming MAJORITY of AMERICANS want NOTHING to do with Obamacare.
MANY of your Democratic friends don’t want it either, so why don’t you go slap their hands for the “fear mongering” as well. So Seriously?, why didn’t you come here and just state the obvious, that you want to the government to take care of your every need until the day you die!

Deb

October 25th, 2010
11:29 am

Healthcare is a joke today. To Guy Baily – this country made Healthcare a privilege a long time ago and we are used to it just like Europeans are used to six-week vacations (now being taken away). Unfortunately no one likes change, but we are being screwed by the insurance companies and our government both GOP & DEM.
Don’t even get me started on how retirees have been screwed. This is the worst travesty of all. My retiree insurance after 40 years of service to a single company went from <$200/month to over $600/month. And they tell me I am lucky.
What we have the RIGHT to is the same healthcare our Congress has. Healthcare that should be equally given to every working citizen in this country. If not, shame on every politician out there.

RSC

October 25th, 2010
11:30 am

Of the MAJORITY of AMERICANS who are opposed to Health Care Reform, those that are opposed because it did not go far enough (and provide universal coverage or at least a public option) outnumber those who are otherwise opposed 2:1. So, the MAJORITY of AMERICANS want health care reform to go FURTHER than it currently does. MOST Republicans are painfully unaware of this fact.

RSC

October 25th, 2010
11:34 am

For the past decade, employers have been dumping US employees and replacing them with employees in countries that have universal health coverage so that they don’t have to provide health insurance. Four years ago I wrote to Senator Saxby Chambliss to say we needed to stop tax incentives for offshoring. He replied to me that the reason companies offshore is because the high costs of health insurance in the US and what we needed was Health Care Reform, not changes in taxes. Funny, two years later, when a president runs on the platform of health care reform and WINS OVERWHELMINGLY, Saxby changed his tune.

Can't afford it.

October 25th, 2010
11:56 am

I had to reduce my insurance because our costs went up, deductables went up, copays went up and our salaries went down.

Choice is getting to be Food, shelter or insurance!

Pompano

October 25th, 2010
11:58 am

We’re getting hit with a 10% increase on our Health Care premiums next year directly attributed to the new Obamacare mandates.

@RSC – only the welfare recipients are in favor 2:1 (I can tell you rely on Cynthia Tucker for your numbers – joke’s on you!). Those of us that actually work for a living and are seeing our costs go up are not so thrilled.

RSC

October 25th, 2010
12:14 pm

Pompano, I’ve also worked for a living for my entire life since the age of 16 and have seen my health insurance premiums increase each and every year for the past 20+ years). Health insurance premiums increased 119% between 1999-2008 (almost 12% per year). So, your 10% increase this year is actually a 2% reduction on the prior 10 year average increase!! WOW!! Obamacare is already working to reduce costs!!

Why would welfare recipients (who already get free healthcare) have any opinion about reform? It’s mostly us intellectual elitists who are in favor of broader reform. And, I got my statistics from the Kaiser Family Foundation. But, you just keep on keeping that fear alive.

8 Days

October 25th, 2010
12:24 pm

And, I got my statistics from the Kaiser Family Foundation. But, you just keep on keeping that fear alive.

RSC Your stats come from Kaiser Permanente. Come on, you libs are the ones keeping the “fear alive” and you know it! ;)

LOLx2

October 25th, 2010
12:25 pm

Premiums go up every year regardless. More hysteria…Keep pumping the fumes in through the vents.

Amazed

October 25th, 2010
12:25 pm

It’s amazing how many folks on here are ready to sit back and let the government decide what health benefits you can or cannot have. Everyone is righfully screaming for Health Care reform but no one is even looking in the right direction (and that direction shouldn’t resemble Socialism). When folks over a certain age are put on waiting lists for necessary care because they aren’t as “viable” then maybe someone will wake up. We can now have age descrimination in our health care but not in the workplace, how the hell does that happen folks. It appears to be working just great in Europe and other nations where socialized health care has been in place for years, which is how long folks wait for service and care in many cases. Maybe it will be just fine here too. One the upside, there won’t be as many older Americans left as our life expectency goes down because of our new governmental run health care. Hell, maybe that was the plan all along. Think of it as population control. (I had to throw that in for all those conspiracy theorists out there.)

Bottom line, the Democrats tout that they are for heath care reform but only in regards to how it will shaft the average American. The Republicans will work for it as long as it doesn’t affect the bottom line. True reform should start with the insurance companies, the over-inflated and double billing and the out of hand malpractice suits. When these areas are dealt with I imagine that the costs of health care will make a government option more affordable and available (and hopefully professional) and still allow for an open market where medical advances will still drive the system that still is capable of offering the best medical care in the world. Besides, where do those folks from the rest of the world come to take advantage of cutting edge health care that is available, the free and open market system of the United States. When the government is the only option then you will all wish you had been in the military so you can stand in line at a Veterans Administration facility because that will be the pinnacle of health care in this country after the dust settles on our current course. If you think that is great then just ask a veteran how that’s working out for them.

By the way, employers will drop your health care in a heartbeat if it can be passed off to the Federal government. And for all those out there who feel that this is acceptable, I wish you luck when the only people who will be filling positions such as fire fighters, police, public works and all other various positions you and I pay taxes for will be veterans of your local McDonalds or Walmart.

8 Days

October 25th, 2010
12:27 pm

RSC – why don’t you go ahead and admit YOUR agenda. You want the government to take care of you for the rest of your life. You are jealous of the entitlement class.

Buh Bye

October 25th, 2010
12:29 pm

@ Guy Bailey Do give our best to HRH on your return back to GB!

fil

October 25th, 2010
12:37 pm

@Guy Bailey – Health care isn’t FREE! You pay for it. Just not at the time you use it. There is no such thing as free. Everything has a cost.

Now, with that being said – go home.

Pompano

October 25th, 2010
12:55 pm

Wow – @RSC thinks a 10% increase in Health Care premiums represents that Obamacare is working to decrease costs – too funny!

Of course, these are the same people I used to notice at county fairs being fleeced by the carney folks. Amazing how easy it is to pull a con on these rubes.

Libby

October 25th, 2010
1:02 pm

The government should have been taking care of us all along. This is not an employers responsibility. It is too expensive, I’d rather make more money and get a bigger paycheck.

RSC

October 25th, 2010
1:06 pm

8 Days, I said I got my statistics from the Kaiser Family Foundation. The Kaiser Foundation has nothing to do with Kaiser Permanente. And as a longstanding member of the achievement class, I only have pity for the entitlement class.

Pompano, 10% is a 2% reduction compared to the annual 12% increase in premiums that happened prior to health care reform. Is that math too complex for you?

I find the lack of intellectual curiosity on the right astounding!

BigDaddy

October 25th, 2010
1:07 pm

the healthcare bill does nothing to lower costs. nothing. it was never intended to do so. this is all about driving to a government run system. the bill is designed to have the system as it exists collapse upon itself so the feds can step in and take over. does anyone really think that will lower costs?

20% of those not covered by insurance today are in that situation by choice. they have money, are healthy and can afford a policy. the actively choose to not purchase one. as they get forced to make that purchase then what?

all i want to know is why the feds arent putting themselves in the same plans that are going to be great for everyone else.

Editor In Chief

October 25th, 2010
1:22 pm

“I find the lack of intellectual curiosity on the right astounding!”

Correction: The lack of intellectual stamina and the level of fear mongering on the Left is astounding.

Pompano

October 25th, 2010
1:24 pm

@RSC – we have never had an increase in excess of 4% on premiums for the last 5 years. The larger increase this year – when the Cost-of-Living Index has held the line – is DIRECTLY attributed to ObamaCare.

I wouldn’t expect someone who probably still lives at home with their mom to understand this.

8 Days

October 25th, 2010
1:27 pm

“And as a longstanding member of the achievement class”

Again, you are totally jealous of the entitlement class. If you had “achieved” anything in your life, then you would be against socialism based healthcare. You are the one that should pay for your poor choices. Your agenda is painfully obvious.

neal kelley

October 25th, 2010
1:58 pm

well i do not have health insurance now.. so it does not make a difference to me..

NOVEMBER 2ND

October 25th, 2010
2:23 pm

My company raised premiums as a result of the govt. takover and has even started a tiered plan so the more money you make the more you pay! REPEAL IT IN 2011!!!

RSC

October 25th, 2010
2:28 pm

What kind of small, simple mind assumes that anyone who supports Health Care Reform is an underachieving, freeloading, welfare-receiving, jealous, entitlement-seeking rube who still lives at home?

The American Medical Association, the largest medical association of physicians in the nation, supported health care reform. 450,000 US doctors petitioned congress for health care reform through the American Academy of Family Physicians. 18,000 doctors have joined to form the Physicians for a National Health Program (single payer). Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, icons of over-acheivement (and capitalism), supported health care reform.

Guy Bailey

October 25th, 2010
3:21 pm

I stand corrected of course. In case you didn’t know – you pay a small portion of your wages (approx $60 a month) in tax that directly funds the NHS – everybody then gets free use of the NHS at source for injuries, treatment, healthcare etc. There is a $20 perscription charge that is paid (waived for elderly, disabled, unemployed etc).

Private Health insurance is also available in the UK if you can afford it and choose it – basically it just means you get to choose a swankier hospital for your treatment and may get seen a little quicker but as the average NHS waiting time is less than 2 weeks, you might just put up with discomfort in the knowledge that you are going to be treated and not bankrupted as a result. My current treatment record is two dislocated ankles, one broken leg, two cracked ribs, one concussion, several stitches to head and ankle and various minor ailments which required perscription antibiotics. Total cost to me – zip, zero, nada, niet, nothing. Our son was also born there in an NHS hospital. Cost (including drugs, baby food/milk and home health visitor service for a year afterwards to see how we’re getting on)? – As above – $0.

Buh Bye and Fil – thanks for your kind thoughts – I’ll pass them onto my American wife if we do have to leave the US next year for her to be treated because right now, no US insurance company will cover her because she has been, wait for it, ill. Neither of us are crazy about the idea but she does thank god that we have that option to save her.

Millions of her fellow Americans don’t – which is nothing short of a national disgrace IMO.

Editor In Chief

October 25th, 2010
3:31 pm

RSC has a small, simple mind that ASSumes all too much. He/she/it supports Health Care Reform and is an underachieving, freeloading, welfare-receiving, jealous, entitlement-seeking rube who still lives at home.

8 Days

October 25th, 2010
4:12 pm

“Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, icons of over-acheivement (and capitalism), supported health care reform.”

If these two gentlemen actually supported Obamacare the way YOU THINK they did, then why did they not publically campaign for it? Gates and Buffett could have put their money to the streets if they fulled supported Obamacare, but they didn’t! The Hollywood elitists didn’t help the cause either. Oprah didn’t come out for her man either. Good try, RSC! Maybe these icons will throw you a bone!

no benefits

October 25th, 2010
4:22 pm

our company is cutting out all employer provided benefits due to the cost. They will not subsidize anything and told us they will consider layoffs if the government makes them pay any more costs.

RBG

October 25th, 2010
5:56 pm

Oh Dear Me! Does this mean the end of the free lunch?

OneChris

October 25th, 2010
5:58 pm

Contract workers will replace permanent workers by 2014. Companies would not have to pay health care to contract workers so that would be a best option for most companies to escape the cost.
The fact is being loyal to any company is no longer the way it is and nor are the loyal to any person so to protect profits they will take any measure required to get the stock holders revenue. Contract is going to be the new work force of the U.S.A.

S

October 25th, 2010
9:36 pm

Guy Bailey, I’m afraid you are blogging over most on here, heads. They just don’t get it that you can get Health-care in another Country that almost costs nothing, compared to the U.S.
I have relatives that actually live in a Country that was behind the iron curtain at one time, who have health care that is just as good as here if not better for little of nothing. How sad that Guy Bailey has to take his spouse back to England for health-care. How disgusting for the U.S. that it is saddled with this selfish group of Politicians installed in office now, both Dem’s, their Blue dogs and wimps, and the almost whole, of the Radical Republican/Tea party. They got theirs and to heck with everyone else. These same Politicians and Corporations(thanks to the Supreme Court) won’t be happy until they take us back to the dark ages.
Go Vote people and vote like your life will depend on it, because it very well might.

TnGelding

October 25th, 2010
10:41 pm

Kevin

October 25th, 2010
11:04 am

I’m not blaming the GOP, but it wasn’t Obama’s bill. He did sign it. I thought it was too complicated and costly.

Tech Man

October 25th, 2010
11:02 am

Most of them were voted down, but they participated in the process in the Huose. I thought the Dems should have thrown them a bone with tort reform, but they would have probably found a reason to vote against that, too.

TnGelding

October 25th, 2010
10:46 pm

We’re receiving medical care after our health care failed or was non existent. But heck, light up another cigarette! Or eat another full rack of ribs. And don’t forget that double fudge brownie topped with ice cream. Tomorrow is another day.