The Decline and Potential Renaissance of Employer-Sponsored Health Benefits: EBRI and MetLife Reports Tell the Story

Two reports this week suggest countervailing trends for employer-sponsored health benefits: the erosion of the health benefit among companies, and opportunities for those progressive employers who choose to stay in the health benefit game.

In 2010, nearly 50% of workers under 65 years of age worked for firms that did not offer health benefits. The uber-trend, first, is that the percentage of workers covered by employer-sponsored health insurance has declined since 2002. Workers offered the option of buying into a health benefit, as well as the percent covered by a health plan, have both fallen, according to the Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI), an organization that has long-tracked this trend. EBRI’s report on Employment-Based Health Benefits: Trends in Access and Coverage, 1997-2010, provides the details behind this declining picture.

Continue reading “The Decline and Potential Renaissance of Employer-Sponsored Health Benefits: EBRI and MetLife Reports Tell the Story”

Letting Go of Employer-Based Health Insurance

Jeff Goldsmith

First posted 7/22/11 on the Health Affairs Blog

Copyright ©2011 Health Affairs by Project HOPE – The People-to-People Health Foundation, Inc.

Other than the egg-laying exercise surrounding the ACO regulations, 2011 was a quiet year among Washington health policy experts until June 6 when McKinsey released the results ofa survey of employer plans under the Affordable Care Act. The McKinsey study found that roughly 30 percent of employers were considering dropping their employee insurance coverage and encouraging their employees to receive federally subsidized health insurance through the Exchanges created in the Affordable Care Act. This compared to low- to mid-single digit estimated drop rates based upon economic modeling by the Urban InstituteLewin and, importantly, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

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About That McKinsey Report…The Critics Were Right

Jonathan Cohn

First published 6/23/11 on Kaiser Health News

McKinsey and Company has finally released the details of its controversial paper on the likely effects of health care reform. And it looks like the paper’s critics (including yours truly) were right to raise questions about it. Based on what the company has said, the paper offers no new reason to think Americans with employer-sponsored insurance will lose that coverage because of the Affordable Care Act.

Politically, that’s good news for President Barack Obama, since he told insured Americans that the law wouldn’t take away the coverage they already had. But what does it mean in terms of policy? Should we be happy that health care reform is unlikely to reduce substantially the current system’s dependence on employer-based insurance? That’s another, much more complicated question.

Continue reading “About That McKinsey Report…The Critics Were Right”

U.S. employers put health care cost containment at the top of reform priorities

JANE SARASOHN-KAHN

Originally published 1/4/2010 on Health Populi

1 in 5 among all U.S. employers (22%) would likely drop health insurance coverage and let workers buy a plan through a health insurance exchange. However, most employers would expand wellness programs driven by incentives in health reform.

If Employers Walked Away From Health Coverage

BRIAN KLEPPER and DAVID C. KIBBE

Originally Published on Kaiser Health News on 11/24/10

What would happen if the rank and file of America’s employers, financially overwhelmed by the burden associated with sponsoring health coverage, suddenly opted out?

It isn’t so far-fetched. Enrollment by working age families in private health coverage dropped more than 10 percent over the last decade, as individuals and business were priced out of the coverage market. Others, victims of the downturned economy, have lost their jobs and access to subsidized coverage. Those who still have coverage have narrower benefits with higher out-of-pocket costs than before.

Continue reading “If Employers Walked Away From Health Coverage”