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Tag >> health insurance
A growing number of companies think it is very important that their employees be healthy and plan to do something about this.
A new study from Towers Watson found that three out of four companies said workforce health and promoting health and well-being will be more of a priority this year and next. In addition, 87 percent said it will be a higher priority over the next two to four years.
U.S. manufacturers are planning to boost hiring and capital expenditures this year. However, they warned they may not bring on as many people as they would like to. Why?
They are having trouble finding qualified candidates. They say there is a shortage of skilled machine operators and welders.
Manufacturers are also concerned about the increase in health insurance costs.
Broader health insurance coverage did not initially lead to significant overuse of the system or increases in hospital costs in Massachusetts.
That's according to research from Wharton School of Business and Yale University professors, findings that, of course, have significance for the Obama administration's healthcare reform. The research was written up in a recent issue of Knowledge@Wharton.
A civil war has broken out in the US and the main weapon being deployed is envy.
The war is over Other People's Money. It has been raging for more than two years now and is threatening to escalate.
Increasingly leading edge companies are adopting benefits policies aimed at gay employees who are in domestic partnerships. The latest wrinkle: addressing a tax on health insurance coverage that gay employees have to pay, but heterosexuals who are married don’t.
Basically companies offering coverage to gay employees with domestic partners face a conundrum. They can’t give such workers equal access to those benefits. The reason: Benefits for domestic partners under federal law have to be taxed as income. The tax owed is based on the value of whatever the employer pays to cover the partner. But married couples don’t pay that tax.
It looks like traditional employee benefits are in the cross-hairs of cost conscious finance execs.
According to a new survey of chief financial officers and senior comptrollers conducted by Grant Thornton LLP, 30 percent are planning to reduce health care benefits, 23 percent are planning on reducing bonuses and 18 percent are prepared to reduce stock options/equity based compensation.
Employers should expect to see their 2011 health care premiums to increase at their highest levels in five years, according to an analysis by Hewitt Associates.
The consulting firm projects an 8.8 percent average premium increase for employers, compared to 6.9 percent in 2010 and 6.0 percent in 2009.
California last week became the first state to pass legislation creating a health insurance exchange as mandated under the new federal health reform law. Some states, like New York, have only begun to pay lip service toward implementing health reform, while others, like Missouri, are still fighting the federal law's legality.
But the legislation is nonetheless expected to serve as a model if it is signed into law as expected.
Employers generally do not like the COBRA program that allows laid-off workers to stay on their company's health plan. The problem is that the program is so expensive that only the sickest workers whose health care costs are higher than what they pay in premiums enroll.
The subsidy in the federal stimulus plan, which paid for 65 percent of the cost of a person's premium, was expected to change that by making it affordable for healthy workers. The subsidy can be used by workers who were laid-off before the end of May for up to 15 months.
Last year, Medicare was predicted to run out of money by 2017. Now, Medicare is predicted to have enough money to last another 12 years. What changed? The answer is health reform.
At least that's the answer given in the Medicare Trustee's report issued August 5. The trustees oversee both Social Security and Medicare. The report states that health reform will save $575 billion over the next decade. That's because health reform raises taxes on high-income earners and eventually raises taxes on high-cost health benefits. The report also notes that savings are expected to come by reducing the number of uninsured hospital patients.
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