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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Monday, June 17, 2013

Bosses skimp on health coverage

By Clark Howard

ClarkHoward.com


With the Affordable Care Act coming next year, there will be requirements for employers with 50 or more people to provide health insurance or face fines.

Yet The Wall Street Journal reports employers are looking for ways to avoid providing meaningful benefits, and at same time avoid the fines required under the law for not providing those benefits.

Basically, they will attempt to provide a health coverage plan in name only. Something that covers a small number of doctor visits per year and generic medication...and that's it. No coverage if you go to a hospital or need surgery.

Some would say that's better than nothing, but it is not much more than nothing!

I think we're going the wrong way because I don't believe employers should be involved at all in providing health coverage. I think that relationship should be decoupled.

If employers will try to skimp, as it looks like they're going to do, it would be much better if they only provided what we had long ago called a "hospital policy" -- coverage for major illnesses, but not routine stuff.

If I were your emperor, I would remove employers and government as health care insurers. Because even before Obamacare, we had roughly half the population getting coverage through the government, while roughly the other half gets coverage through employers. Those who are uninsured are entrepreneurs and small business owners, typically.

We need to decouple employers and government as health care providers and put the individual in charge of the health care buying process. You want to see health care costs go down? That will do it.

As for employers trying to figure out every way possible to not pay for coverage for you, big surprise there, right? Some employers will just pay the fines rather than providing coverage.

We are still in early days of how the new health care system will work. The one part we can all agree on is eliminating redlining among insurance companies, where you're banned because of a pre-existing condition.

Other than that, there's a whole lot we don't agree on!

 

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