Employer-sponsored Health Coverage Decisions – Big Impact on Everyone

As more and more employers consider the increased cost of employee health insurance, the looming decision is whether or not to continue offering insurance coverage. “Between 2000 and 2011, the average annual employee-only premium more than doubled to $5,081 from $2,490. And during that period, the amount employees contributed toward premiums also skyrocketed, to $1,056 from $435,” according to the April 11 Modern Healthcare story “More employers dropping insurance.”

The study reveals that over the same 2000-2011 period, employer-sponsored insurance dropped 10 percent. So the question that lingers is, “Do you stand to lose your employer-sponsored coverage?” At least one demographic, adults between the ages of 19-25, continues to see a rise in employer-sponsored coverage. No surprise there, as this represents the government provision allowing those under 26 to remain on their parents’ insurance policy. For the rest of us, these are sobering times.

The future of who, how and what may be included in employer-sponsored coverage is anybody’s guess. And so, the uncertainties about our future health coverage continue. Rising costs result in fewer employers offering insurance coverage. As premiums increase, more employees are opting not to participate even when it’s offered. Just to throw a caveat into this saga, when employees do not accept to participate in employer coverage, they are not required to submit personal health information or participate in employer-required wellness programs. Either way, it is not encouraging.

The entire issue gets more complicated by the hour. Overall, this is a “lose-lose” situation. Employees become sick with no program in place to offset the cost for care, hence, they stay away from work longer. Employers then lose productive hours due to sicker or absent employees. As more employers increase employer-sponsored health insurance premiums or stop offering health insurance altogether, you will be impacted.

Consider yourself and your loved ones and seek to adapt lifestyle changes that will enable you to stay as healthy as you can for as long as you can. A healthy life may be your only option. It’s a no-brainer! If you take the steps necessary to optimize your health, your dependence and reliance on a program that may cease to exist will be greatly diminished. Your quality of life and health and that of those you care for may depend on it.