While nationalized health care remains on the political agenda at the presidential level, a working system could be years in the making. Meanwhile, both consumers and businesses need access to affordable health insurance plans. But the situation is growing more dire as a result of the economic contraction.
Businesses of all sizes have cut expenses across the board and this includes health insurance coverage. In a Society for Human Resource Management survey, businesses reported making the following reductions to health care coverage in the past six months:
- Frozen health care coverage for employees 22%
- Reduced health care coverage for employees 78%
- Eliminated health care coverage for family members 3%
- Frozen health care coverage for family members 24%
- Reduced health care coverage for family members 72%
If the economy does not improve, 34% of employers indicate that it is somewhat or very likely that they will take further steps to reduce employee benefits in the next six months.
This state of affairs opens new opportunities for your health insurance company clients. These businesses may be able to sell less expensive plans, such as HSAs (health savings accounts) to their client firms. In addition, they may be able to sell individual or family policies to employees who have lost coverage at work. Either way, health insurance companies may need to increase advertising or prepare different marketing materials to meet the changing needs in the marketplace.[Source: Financial Challenges Poll, Society for Human Resource Management, March 11, 2009]