Report: Companies likely to save billions dumping employee health care

Caroline May | Reporter

A new report prepared by Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee suggests that companies would save billions of dollars by ending health insurance coverage for employees under Presidents Barack Obama’s health care reform law.

Based on an analysis of health care data received from 71 of the America’s Fortune 100 companies, the report found that if the companies terminate insurance coverage in favor of paying the $2,000 per employee penalty, they would incur a financial benefit.

According to the report, companies surveyed would save on average $400 million — or a total of $28.6 billion in 2014 — simply by putting their employees on the government exchanges.

Between 2014 and 2023, the report says, the average savings per company would be nearly $6 billion, a total savings of $422.4 billion.

“These employers spent an average of $5,197 on health insurance benefits, after taxes, per employee in 2011,” the report reads. “In 2014, this average would increase to $6,487 per employee, which far exceeds the $2,000 per full-time employee penalty they would pay for not offering coverage under the Democrats’ health care law. One Fortune 100 company could save more than $3.5 billion in 2014 alone, while another could save $1.8 billion. Four companies could save in excess of $1 billion in 2014 if they dropped health coverage and paid the mandate penalty.”

Committee Chairman Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican, said the data indicates a threat to employer-based insurance.

“The findings of the report, along with existing research, show that the Democrats’ health care law threatens the stability and sustainability of the employer-based health insurance system,” Camp said in a statement.

“Anyone who gets insurance through their job should be worried about what will happen next, because there is a distinct financial incentive for employers to terminate health care coverage under the Democrats’ health care law,” he added. “It is clear to me that because of this law, Americans will not be able to keep the health care plan they have and like. American workers and taxpayers simply cannot afford to have this law remain on the books.”

In 2009 Obama said the new law would not interfere with individuals’ current coverage — if they did not want it to.

“Let me be exactly clear about what health care reform means to you,” Obama said. “First of all, if you’ve got health insurance, you like your doctors, you like your plan, you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan. Nobody is talking about taking that away from you.”

In mid-March the Congressional Budget Office estimated that that under the president’s plan 3 million to 5 million fewer people will be receiving health care through their employer each year from 2019-2022 than under prior law.

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