|Today's post is shared from Kaiser.org|
Can corporations shift workers with high medical costs from the company health plan into online insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act? Some employers are considering it, say benefits consultants.
"It's all over the marketplace," said Todd Yates, a managing partner at Hill, Chesson & Woody, a North Carolina benefits consulting firm. "Employers are inquiring about it and brokers and consultants are advocating for it."
Health spending is driven largely by patients with chronic illness such as diabetes or who undergo expensive procedures such as organ transplants. Since most big corporations are self-insured, shifting even one high-cost member out of the company plan could save the employer hundreds of thousands of dollars a year -- while increasing the cost of claims absorbed by the marketplace policy by a similar amount.
And the health law might not prohibit it, opening a door to potential erosion of employer-based coverage.
"Such an employer-dumping strategy can promote the interests of both employers and employees by shifting health care expenses on to the public at large," wrote two University of Minnesota law professors in a 2010 paper that basically predicted the present interest. The authors were Amy Monahan and Daniel Schwarcz.
It's unclear how many companies, if any, have moved sicker workers to exchange coverage, which became available only in January. But even a few high-risk patients could add...