Employer Based Health Insurance
Despite all the talk about a new age of consumerism in healthcare, and the feelings of many top insurance industry experts and government officials that the answer for the 47 million uninsured is Consumer Driven Health Plans, a recent study found that the majority of workers still prefer group health insurance benefits from their jobs.
The study conducted recently by the National Business Group on Health, spoke to 1600 employees of large companies, those with more than 2500 workers, and found that the vast majority of them reported that their medical insurance benefits were very good or excellent, and added it was their most important employee benefit.
So what does this tell us? With all the buzz being generated by health insurance professionals and leading politicians alike that employee based medical insurance is becoming a thing of the past, it is a past that many still cling to. It means that if we really are at a tipping point and need to make a fundamental change in the way healthcare and health insurance is delivered in this country, people’s mindset is going to have to change.
Businesses, and even some labor unions, are advocating consumer driven health plans, Health Savings Accounts, and other ways to empower consumers to take more control of their healthcare and health insurance dollars. Yet this survey indicates that workers who are receiving medical benefits on their jobs are in a “comfort zone” they do not want to readily leave. More than 80% of the respondents in the survey said they would rather give up other benefits, such as vacation, even take salary cuts - rather than see their medical benefits change. Surprisingly, even those that reported they were “dissatisfied” with their company benefits, said they would not want to purchase benefits on their own, even if the company or the state helped pay for them. It seems employees prefer the security of having someone else worry about their health insurance. And the employers in these large companies are getting that message. In a tight job market they realize that health benefits are a good way to attract and keep high value employees.
But the flip side of the coin is, it is only these large corporations that can afford to keep providing that level of health insurance to their employees. The vast majority of workers in America are either self-employed or work for small businesses that are dropping health insurance benefits regularly because they cannot keep up with the rising costs. And even many larger corporations cut benefits when it comes to saving money. So while those who are lucky enough to have good health insurance benefits from their jobs would do anything to keep them, when it comes right down to it, that may not be their choice.