Sunday, 19 February 2006

Why Health Coverage Shouldn’t be Tied to Employers

“Weyco and Scotts Miracle-Gro, based in Marysville, Ohio, are in the vanguard of a growing effort by business to brake soaring medical costs by regulating such unhealthy employee behavior as smoking”

Health coverage as a benefit of employment no longer makes sense – financially for employers or employees. Expecting employers to foot the bill and not expecting them to minimize their expense might be a sign of mental illness.

My problem with employer-sponsored plans is their lack of portability. The instability of employers in the dot-com era meant switching plans and doctors every 18 months when I switched business cards – annoying to say the least.

The three benefits I see of individual sponsored plans are:

  1. a better understanding of where their healthcare dollars are going
  2. more direct control over the services that make sense to them
  3. portability

I don’t see these points conflicting with a national health care plan. To me, healthcare is the same type of problem as roads/highways and defense.

J Wynia has a good write up of choosing an individual healthcare plan.

Malcolm Gladwell takes the healthcare = transportation metaphor one step further.

“…imagine if we had employer-based subways in New York. You could ride the subway if you had a job. But if you lost your job, you would either have to walk or pay a prohibitively expensive subway surcharge. Of course, if you lost your job you would need the subway more than ever, because you couldn’t afford taxis and you would need to travel around looking for work.”