I got a call last week from a business owner who had received my marketing letter, and he said "Help! I just don't know what to do anymore. I can't keep up with these costs and I'm ready to just nix the whole program!" I know some of you have had similar thoughts. Is having a group health plan worth it? Yes, and here are some reasons:
- Individual insurance is not a guarantee issue, which means if you have health issues your options are limited and expensive
- Individual insurance plans just took a 15-20% price hike
- Individual insurance premiums paid by a business owner for an employee are not entirely tax deductible, unlike group plan premiums which are a corporate tax deduction
- Attracting quality employees is less likely without a benefits program
It is a challenge to keep rising health care costs manageable. One of my clients shared with me that her mother had a $12,000 routine colonoscopy, in rural Iowa. Television journalist, Katie Couric lost her 40's something husband to colon cancer, which could have been prevented had he undergone this test, but how do we keep up with these amazing costs? I believe we have to stay proactive in our plan designs, cost sharing and reimbursement strategies, and visiting the market periodically to make sure you are not over paying.
I think we must force ourselves and our employees to become aware of what real medical costs are and get them more engaged with options and decisions. We all need health insurance, and the group format offers more options for both the employee and the employer.