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Selasa, 26 Januari 2016

Health


Health insurance is essentially insurance provided to members of a group at a discounted rate by insurers. The insurers are able to provide this coverage at a discount because they're taking on a pool of insureds that they can spread the risk out among.



For many employers, group health insurance is perhaps the most important fringe benefit they offer because its advantageous tax-wise to both employers and employees. Employers benefit because they get a tax deduction for offering coverage. Employees benefit because compensation their employers provide them with to meet premiums is untaxed. Employer-based group health insurance has a broad reach. .

In recent years there have been some trends in the group health insurance field that have contributed to the number of uninsured and, unchecked, may result in even greater numbers of uninsured.

According to studies, there have been several countervailing trends with regard to the availability and actual usage of employer-provided group health insurance. The number of companies offering coverage have increased, but the rate of people eligible for coverage and the rate of people who take their employers up on the offer has decreased.

However, the rate of employees eligible for coverage dipped by nearly five percent, and the number of people enrolled in employer-sponsored group health insurance also dropped by almost seven percent. For our purposes, the offer rate is the number of people who work where insurance is offered, the eligibility rate is the number of employees eligible for insurance and the enrollment rate is the number of people enrolled in an employer provided group health insurance plan.

While it may seem odd that the offer rate has risen while the eligibility rate has fallen, further study shows that while the number of employers offering insurance has grown, the number of employees eligible to get it has dipped because a growing number of firms are decreasing their number of full time employees and increasing the number of part-timers. At many businesses, part time employees are ineligible for employer-provided health insurance.

The substantial dip in the number of employees opting to buy into employer-provided health plans can be explained by the rising cost of insurance premiums. According to recent studies, while wages have stagnated for about a decade the cost of health insurance coverage has risen greatly in the same period of time. While many employers have increased their contributions to help offset the rise, even these contribution increases have not absorbed all the financial impact of rising premium costs.

Another factor in decreasing employee participation in employer-provided group health insurance coverage is growing availability of Medicare and Medicaid. In recent years more of the working poor have qualified for coverage in federal health insurance programs, perhaps contributing to declining participation in employer-provided health insurance. While more people are being covered under these plans, they have not substantially contributed to a decrease in the number of uninsured, which remains high.

According to recent studies, the people most likely to be without coverage from a employer-based group health insurance plan include Hispanics, older working women, young workers and workers in small businesses.

The rising cost of health coverage has impacted the ability of small businesses to offer affordable health coverage to employees. In general, small businesses may be able to offer health coverage to employees, but they are unable to contribute as much to their employees' coverage as larger companies. This is a disturbing trend for public health advocates, as most new jobs being generated come from small businesses.


Overall, the rising cost of health insurance poses problems for both employers and employees. Employers must raise prices, reduce staff or freeze contributions to benefits to keep pace with costs and employees are left to decide whether coverage is worth the substantial financial sacrifice they must make to obtain coverage. Without comprehensive reform of health care, this problem is likely to continue to worsen. Attempts at health care reform from both the right (tort reform) and left (single payer) have run into brick walls erected from partisan and special interest groups.  
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