Home » OPINION » Columns » ALAN TURNER — Has your company considered dropping employee health benefits?

ALAN TURNER — Has your company considered dropping employee health benefits?

healthcare reform_rgbIn recent weeks, we’ve talked with a number of policy experts, health care providers and financial professionals about the impact of the Affordable Care Act on Mississippi businesses.

There appears to be a solid consensus among these sources that the cost of providing employee health care benefits is going to increase — some think it will increase a LOT. We’ve heard suggestions that the mandate for companies with more than 50 employees to provide health care was delayed primarily because those in power in Washington were fearful about the impact on business and on the health care act itself.

One thing seems certain at this point. The launch of the exchanges has been a non-starter, and as one Democratic senator put it this week, “it’s a crisis in confidence.” Apparently, millions of people have had their existing policies cancelled, despite assurances that “if you like your health insurance, you can keep it.” Many of these people are discovering that their health care costs are going to increase. In some states, we read that not a single person has managed to enroll. And of course, the huge central question is whether or not enough healthy people will sign up for coverage to offset the cost of the millions of poor and sick people who will enroll. The entire system appears to turn on that single question.

From a business point of view, we have heard from a number of small business owners and managers (those with less than 50 employees), that even though they currently provide employee health benefits, they are considering dropping those benefits in the next year. That would also put new stress on the system, and on all of the individuals who might lose their employer-provided health benefits.

We’d like to hear from owners and managers of both small businesses and larger firms. Have you considered dropping your employee health benefits? Is that on your agenda for next year? If you do drop it, will you provide any financial assistance to your employees who will have to arrange for their own coverage on the exchanges? Please share your thoughts with us. We won’t publish your name unless you want us to do so.

This is a vital topic for business professionals not only in our state, but throughout our nation.

What do you think?

E-mail us and let us know.

» Contact Mississippi Business Journal publisher Alan Turner at alan.turner@msbusiness.com or (601) 364-1018

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