Employers Drop Health Insurance – Uninsured Stays Consistent

The Health care Reform bill was designed to reduce the number of uninsured.  Health care cost is at the highest point in history. The cost of health insurance is growing out of control.  Employers are being forced to make decisions that they thought they would never have to make with health care.  For years employers are faced with health care costs exceeding profits of the business.  Business owners, or board of directors, have intentions to grow a company at a profit, usually a large profit.  That’s the reward for taking the risk and making a difference in other people.  When any given expense exceeds something you are aiming for it becomes a distraction because it’s something business owners have to deal with all the time.  There comes a turning point for a business owner…  Shut the doors or make cuts somewhere within the company.  One area killing the profits of a company is health care.  Employers have already cut benefits so what’s next option?  Employees wake up one morning and find themselves without health insurance.

At one point over 60% of employers offered health insurance as a benefit for working for a company.  In 2008 that number dropped to 50%.  As of February 2011, that number fell below 48%.  Even though the healthcare costs are skyrocketing, Americans are shocked to see the percentage of employers pulling the plug.

Mathematically, it would only add up that the more employers are dropping their health insurance plans the number of uninsured would go through the roof.  For every health plan dropped it could be hundreds, if not thousands, of employees losing coverage.  However, over the last 2 years the uninsured rate stayed consistent at 16%.

The big question is how is that possible?  Thousands of employees losing their health insurance but the uninsured rate is held at 16%.  Sure the numbers could be skewed, but not like the unemployment rate going down because those who are unemployed exhausted all unemployment benefits.  There is a very specific reason why this has happened.

There has been a growing demand of private policies for individuals and families.  Some people did not know you can buy a policy on your own outside of the work place.   The fortunate part, most of the time, is that it is less expensive than what the employer is paying through the group plans.

Private policies for individuals and families are more Portable, Permanent and provides more Control .  With employer sponsored plans employees have to take what is provided to them, they can’t take it with them.  COBRA is the only exception, however it is very expensive and it expires.  Why would you pay a lot and have it run out on you?  For those who are trying to retire early you are stuck in this new term called ‘Job Lock’ because of health insurance.  Purchasing private policies are more permanent than employer sponsored plans because the employer plan can simply go away one day without any word from or to the employees.  Today, in 2011, this is happening every day throughout the country.

The last thing purchasing a private plan can do is give employees more control over their health care.  If one family wants to have a richer policy because they have four kids they can have it.  That family can look at the true cost of insurance and decide if they want a certain type of coverage.  It is just like buying a car or house.  You take responsibility, evaluate costs and take a needs analysis.   This will help individuals and families make better decisions for their current situation.

Let us know how your shopping for your own private insurance policy.

Butch Zemar