Employers Oppose Govt. Health Coverage Requirement

October 31, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The majority of U.S.-based employers in a recent survey said they want to continue to provide employee health care coverage, but do not want the government to force them to do it.

A Buck Consultants news release said employers surveyed preferred a middle ground between the presidential candidates’ health care proposals (see  Political Partings ).

Specifically, according to Buck, a majority of employers responding to the survey preferred a health care system that looks like the one in place, but with:

  • a private sector safety net for the uninsured,
  • a continuing, and potentially expanded, role for consumer-directed health plans, and
  • a national promotion of health and wellness to control costs.

Most of the survey respondents prefer to continue providing health care coverage; only 32% would rather get out of the business of providing health care to employees. A majority also believe that a federal mandate to provide coverage would put a strain on their competitiveness, according to Buck.

Other key findings include:

  • If a mandate becomes law, two-thirds believe employers should have plan design discretion, including the option to offer consumer-directed health plans.
  • Twenty-one percent of respondents believe that one candidate's proposal to expand coverage by enhancing competition between employer plans and individual insurance policies would reduce the number of uninsured.
  • Seventy-two percent believe enhanced competition would drive healthy employees into the individual market, leaving more costly individuals in the employer plans.
  • Fifty-three percent of respondents would be inclined to promote health and wellness in the workplace if they are not the primary source of health insurance.

The survey report is available from Buck's Global Survey Resources, 500 Plaza Drive, Secaucus, NJ, 07096-1533, 1-800-887-0509. It also can be ordered online at  www.bucksurveys.com .

The survey analyzed responses from more than 160 organizations, according to Buck.