Despite intense health care cost pressures, firms covering more than 90 percent of the nation's workforce view health benefits as an important tool to attract and retain qualified workers, according to a national study by researchers at the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) and The Commonwealth Fund published in the November/ December edition of Health Affairs.
Moreover, firms employing two-thirds of all workers, including both firms that do and do not offer health benefits, agreed that "all employers should share in the cost of health insurance for employees, either by covering their own workers or by contributing to a fund to cover the uninsured," the study found.
"Despite concerns about rapidly rising health costs, the study indicates that many employers remain committed to playing a key role in the private insurance system many working Americans depend on for health coverage," said HSC Health Researcher Heidi Whitmore, lead author of the study funded by the Commonwealth Fund.
The study also examined employers' attitudes about public policies aimed at expanding health coverage, reducing administrative expenses and improving the quality of care, finding they generally support such incremental steps.
"Employers are willing to step up to the plate and share responsibility for paying for health insurance coverage for workers," said Sara Collins, an assistant vice president at the Commonwealth Fund and coauthor of the study, along with Jon Gabel and Jeremy Pickreign of HSC.
The Health Affairs article, titled "Employers' Views on Incremental Measures to Expand Health Coverage" is based on a special Commonwealth Fund-supported supplement to the 2005 Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research and Educational Trust survey of employer health benefits, a nationally representative telephone survey of 2,013 public and private nonfederal employers with three or more workers. The survey response rate was 48 percent.
Other key study findings include:
- Many employers were willing to undertake administrative changes designed to expand coverage. For example, four-fifths of firms--both offering and nonoffering--stated they were very or somewhat willing to reduce an eligible employee's withholding tax by the amount of any available health insurance tax credit. Seventy percent of firms stated they were very or somewhat willing to collect the tax credit and apply it to the employee's share of premium.
- Half of firms--both offering and nonoffering--were interested in a program that would allow their workers and dependents to obtain coverage through their state's public employee insurance program, with the employer contributing part of the premium. Small firms expressed the greatest interest in such a policy option.
- With respect to quality improvement, more than 3 in 5 (63%) employers offering health benefits were very or somewhat interested in offering workers high-performance provider networks, even if it meant limiting the number of network providers.
- When asked about the most effective way to reduce administrative costs, small employers were somewhat more focused on immediate relief from costs, and large employers were more focused on achieving efficiency through standardization. For example, small employers were more likely to say that joint purchase of health insurance by employers and public insurance programs would be most beneficial in reducing administrative costs. Large firms were more likely to say that universally accepted quality performance measures for providers would be most beneficial in lowering costs.
All findings in the study are worker-weighted to better reflect the views of large firms--because they employ a significantly larger proportion of workers, their views more accurately reflect the experience of the typical employee. For example, firms with 3-24 workers constitute 83 percent of all firms but account for just 19 percent of employees, while firms with 5,000 or more workers constitute 0.1 percent of all firms but account for 34 percent of all workers.
Mary Mahon | EurekAlert!
Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences
24.10.2016 | Life Sciences
24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy