Much has been said over the past couple of years regarding the employer’s obligation to provide healthcare benefits, underscored by the Affordable Care Act and the political push back surrounding it. While it may be true that the law has been helpful to some who did not previously have health care coverage, there are plenty who disagree once they log onto Healthcare.gov and see the high cost of the plans in their state exchanges.
For employers, the government offers an option in the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP); however, many small business owners are also dismayed to find that the cost of taking advantage of the program is far higher than what they expected it to be. And for local government organizations, the cost is surprisingly higher.
Take our client, the Tyler Independent School District in Tyler, Texas. Tyler ISD wanted a healthcare coverage option for its 17 elementary schools, six middle schools and two high schools. The state plan cost was so high that some in the district feared layoffs would be necessary in order to make up for the cost of providing employees with healthcare – and this was back in 2001, when the economy was stronger and it would be years before the Affordable Care Act was in the picture.
Even then, we were able to negotiate significant discounts with a local provider network for the Tyler ISD health plan. According to district officials, these discounts have resulted in millions of dollars being saved by the school district in the years since the plan was enacted – and, as one spokesperson told us, “The benefits of the state plan are less than our benefits,” and they come “at a higher cost.”
Health care consulting is a service that has become absolutely necessary in 2014. If your business or local government organization is unsure how to cover employees affordably and comprehensively, contact GM&A to see what we can do for you.