Health insurance is the foundation of a comprehensive benefits package for employees. It is the preferred benefit of the majority of people who work. Health insurance marks an employer as an employer of choice when desirable candidates select job opportunities.
Health insurance is an insurance policy that will pay specified amounts of money to cover medical expenses or treatments. Employer-provided health insurance policies, also known as group health insurance policies, offer employees many different options for insurance coverage. Employer-provided policies vary in their approaches to coverage
According to Healthinsurance.org, of the Americans who have health coverage, nearly 60% obtain their coverage through an employer-sponsored plan. In these group health plans, the employer pays the premium, or the lion’s share of the premium, that covers a wide range of health care expenses that vary by policy.
Generally, group health insurance plans cover the cost of medical office visits for illness and checkups, hospitalization, emergency room services, ambulance transportation, operations, physical therapy, and even prescription drugs, to provide several examples of potentially covered health care services. But, every plan is different and it behooves an employee to become familiar with the details of his or her employer’s plan before the benefit is needed.
Health Care Cost
In recent years, because of health care cost increases, employees are paying an increased percentage of the cost of their health insurance premiums, usually through a payroll deduction. Some plans cover the employee who must pay the cost of insuring family members. Additionally, almost every plan has a co-payment (co-pay) responsibility in which the employee pays a nominal fee to cover a portion of the health care service provided, usually ranging from $10-40.00.
In addition to reducing the cost of health care coverage for employees, the second advantage of an employer-sponsored plan is that they offer guaranteed coverage; the insurance company must cover all applicants whose employment qualifies them for coverage.
Typically, employer-sponsored plans can include a range of plan options. From health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and preferred provider organizations (PPOs) to plans that provide additional coverage such as dental insurance, life insurance, short-term disability insurance, and long-term disability insurance, employer-sponsored health plans can be comprehensive to meet the insurance needs of employees.
Changes Upcoming in Health Insurance Coverage
In 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It is anticipated that significant changes to health insurance plans, practices, and costs will occur as a result of this law.
Various provisions of the health insurance overhaul law rolled out starting in 2010 through mid-decade. Certain changes relating to coverage of children up to age 26 and people with prior existing conditions and more have already taken place. More are predicted.
Most employers are anticipating health insurance cost increases and impacts to employee health coverage. These impacts, at best, change and expand existing coverage and benefits, and at worst, may cause employers to no longer afford to offer an employer-provided health insurance option.
No one is currently aware of the total requirements or impact of these far-reaching changes to health insurance provision and health care in the US.
Health insurance is an appreciated employee benefit. Sought after employees will not consider accepting a job that does not provide health insurance coverage as an employee benefit.