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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

HEALTHCARE IN BUSINESS: How Much Cost Shifting Can My Company and Employees Bear?

Healthcare In Business with Ruth Lycke

According to Paul Mango, director of consulting firm McKinsey & Co., 18 million Americans opted to go to a high-deductible plan route this year compared to 13 million last year. The change is indicative of the gamble people are faced with in dealing with their health and ever increasing cost shifting. With an additional 40 million people entering the roles of the “insured” an added to the existing healthcare roles, big questions loom and have to be asked by the employer.
  • How much cost shifting can my company and employees bear?

  • Is medical healthcare accessibility still available?

  • Am I loosing good employees because of benefit choices?

  • Are there options available in healthcare that I am not aware of?

  • Does my HR staff have all the tools to build a good policy?

The answer to these and other questions like them fill the pages of blogs and news articles but few employers and employees have an advocate to sort through the fact and fiction. A statistic that might startle you is this: In 50% of all heart attacks, the first sign and symptom of heart disease is death. I share that to make a point, and that is that most companies, small or large find out too late to change or modify their policy or coverage. They are surrounded by people who are often more interested in selling a policy, getting a commission, and not focused on the company or the employee needs.

Just as it is imperative to have an annual physical it is just as important for the company to undergo an “insurance and benefits” physical by a third party focused on the bottom line needs of the business and employees. This month let’s look at costs…

How much cost shifting can your company and employees bear?
The average cost of insurance is impossible to give in a straight answer.

Why? There are a considerable number of differences in the costs both from state to state and policy to policy.

A more generalized answer shows an average of $2,000 to $4,000 is required for a standard individual health insurance policy.

In circumstances where the person suffers from chronic disorders such as diabetes and blood pressure, the cost of premium almost always goes up. An additional program is offered through some insurance companies where the person concerned can seek different compensations and claims against expenditure that is insured, as a result of the disorder.

In cases of families the annual premium cost can go up to $6,000 to $10,000, depending upon the number of members and chronic disorders.

Another addition as well as family health insurance policy, is the maternity insurance. There are different health insurance plans and conditions that can be looked at in this process. Some policies cover all prenatal expenditures, plus the expenditures during the birth. Some policies however cover only the expenditures that are incurred during birth.

Lastly, certain health policies have specialized coverage specifically meant for those who contract certain diseases such as cancer and AIDS. Though the premium might be as high as $10,000 per year, the companies have reliable relations with the medical system that enable people to ease their pain and avoid the worry of a catastrophic medical bill. In many cases properly written policies have also enabled patients to get specialized medical attention that has cured the disease or provided alternative treatment that is more effective.

We’ve only looked at one point this month to demonstrate that having an insurance and benefit checkup is a good idea. For those that think this is impossible then I would challenge them to call, write, email or blog.

Don’t be one of the 50% who die waiting while assuming all is well.

For more information, please visit Ruth's TNNWC Bio.

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