Norman Black, a spokesman for UPS, headquartered in Sandy Springs, said that “as a general rule” the shipping giant supports health care reform. The company has 345,000 U.S. employees and spent $3 billion on health care premiums last year. It provides health care to all employees, even part-timers, many of whom are covered under union contracts.
Total premiums and out-of-pocket costs paid by employers and workers for a typical family of four will hit $16,771 this year, according to Milliman Inc., a consulting and actuarial firm. About 60 percent is borne by employers, the firm said.
Ralph J. Neas, CEO of National Coalition on Health Care, said that over the last decade health care costs shot up 120 percent while wages increased only 34 percent.
“The rapidly escalating rate of increase in health care costs is undermining American businesses, big and small, and has to be brought under control,” Neas said.
Neas said his organization, which bills itself as the nation’s largest and “most broadly representative alliance” working to improve America’s health care, hasn’t endorsed any specific reform plan. But he said reform is critical.
“We can’t face these kinds of increasing costs forever,” UPS’ Black said. “Eventually it impacts our competitiveness in the global marketplace.”
However, UPS has not taken a position on proposals floating around Congress. And Black said the company is adamant about what should not be in the bill: No new mandates or taxes that would increase costs for employers.
“That’s a non-starter for us,” he said. ” We don’t think any additional costs should be placed on an employer who is already providing comprehensive care.”
Atlanta-based Coca-Cola and Home Depot declined to comment on any specific reform proposals.
“Clearly, we are watching health care reform closely, but can’t speculate on anything since there are no firm details in place,” said Home Depot spokesman Ron DeFeo. “Our focus will continue to be on offering our associates access to quality care through an array of choices that can be selected based on individual needs.”