Benefits.....Opinion, Hearsay & News Review
2011, 73% of all private sector full-time workers were offered life insurance by
their employers and 97% enrolled according the BLS. Basic life insurance plans
offered to 95% of workers used either a flat benefit amount or a percentage of
earnings formula to determine the benefit.
survey by Buck shows that trend increases in all types of medical insurance
plans are expected to be 9.9% in 2012, compared to 11% in 2011.
Mercer study shows the top three reasons employers offer health and wellness
benefits are : 60%-improve productivity and performance at individual level; 52%
attract and retain talent; 40% promote employee protection and well-being.
A Cornell University study says
that obesity now accounts for almost 21% of U.S. health care costs, more than
twice previous estimates. That translates into $190.2 billion per year.
According to the study, obese persons incur medical costs that are $2,741 per
year more than non-obese persons. The survey was conducted using the medical
costs from 24,000 non-elderly U.S.
The latest Mercer survey of
employers with 500 or more employees (that currently offer retiree medical
benefits) shows that 65% said they will continue to offer a retiree medical
plan. Seventeen percent will not and 18% are unsure.
Word on the street is that
Unicare (a Wellpoint company) is no longer offering new Life, Disability, Dental
or Vision plans.
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The Missouri House approved a
measure by a vote of 108-44 that declares that the federal health care law is
void and has no force because Congress exceeded its constitutional power in
passing Obamacare. The measure now moves to the state Senate. In August of 2010,
a statewide referendum approved with 71% of the vote, bars governments from
requiring people to have health insurance and bars penalizing them for paying
their own medical bills.
According to the 2012 Medicare
Trustees Report, expenditures from Medicare's Trust Fund exceeded revenues by
$27.7 Billion in 2011. Without a policy change, the Trust Fund will be depleted
by 2024. Medicare helps pay medical expenses for 40.4 million people over the
age of 65 plus 8.3 million individuals under age 65 who suffer from disability.
Medicare Part A benefits (hospital, home health and skilled nursing) accounted
for 47% of Medicare spending with 41% going to Part B and 12% to Part D
Aetna has announced that it
will be selling individual health insurance policies at Costco (next to the meat
counter?). The policies will be offered in AZ, CT, GA, IL, MI,NV, PA, TX and VA.
Wellness kits are already being sold by Aetna at Best Buy stores (next to the
Another survey by Zywave of
7,800 employers shows that 51% will
definitely continue to offer health benefit coverage.
Twenty-nine percent will likely continue, 3% will likely discontinue, 1%
will definitely discontinue or already have and 19% are unsure what they will do
in 2014 when the most onerous requirements of Obamacare begin. The survey
included 14 business sectors with 60% of employers surveyed having less than 100
If the Supreme Court does not
strike down Obamacare, Kaiser Family Foundation says that U.S. health insurers
will pay $1.3 billion in rebates to customers beginning in August. There will be
$426 million in individual rebates
paid ($127 per person). About 20% of large employers could receive $541 million
and 25% of small employers could receive rebates totaling $377 million.
Escaping some of the worst
parts of Obamacare are those companies who partially self-fund. Bloomberg
Business Week reports that 8% of
companies with 3 to 49 employees use a form of self-funding. The number rises to
20% of companies from 50 to 199 employees and 48% of companies with 200 to 999
employees. Eighty percent of those companies with 1,000 employees self-fund
(although it's difficult to know why this number is not 97%). New products
available in the market are allowing more small companies to consider
self-funding and all reporting sources we see show that more companies that can
and should have self-funded in the past are now considering the option.