The big question for employers

Plan Sponsor picks up on a central question for employers who sponsor their own healthcare plans:

Should employees get their healthcare through us, the employer, or should we help them get it through the state insurance exchange?

This excerpt captures the challenge of the question at hand:

Employers need to ask themselves, “How do we attract and retain employees?” [Milliman consultant Jeff] Chanin says. “They need to start trying to project their costs from 2014 to 2020, and compare the post-tax differential in offering health insurance or not, or some intermediate option.” He thinks of a high-deductible plan with moderate to high employee deductibles as an intermediate option, for example, and he suggests surveying employees to understand how much they value their health-care plan.

Most employers likely will not make a final decision until they see how effectively the exchanges get up and running, Chanin predicts. Like some others, he thinks that, if a couple of well-regarded major employers switch people to the exchanges, others will follow in a domino effect. “The exchanges, if they work, will essentially compete with employer programs,” he says.

“If they work” is of course a key question for the state health insurance exchanges. Click here for a helpful library of information that illustrates what “working” means.