HEALTH INSURANCE AND JOBS

If you are fortunate enough to work for someone who provides you with health insurance, count your blessings.
But also know that it probably won’t last.
Not only have state and the federal governments set up insurance exchanges, companies are also setting up private insurance exchanges.
Leading the trend is a company called Towers Watson, whose CEO, John Haley, was profiled in the Oct. 31, 2013, edition of USA Today.
Having health insurance with your job used to be a beautiful thing. Not only did a company pay you a salary and contribute toward your pension, it also paid a portion of your health care costs in the form of insurance.
If you hung around the company long enough, you could stay insured until Medicare kicked in.
But the recession that started in 2008 changed that mind-set. People lost jobs, and, therefore, lost their health insurance. People started to seriously question whether it was a good thing to have health insurance tied to a job. It was bad enough for a person to lose a salary. But losing health insurance compounded the problem many times over, especially if that person had a sick family member, or were sick themselves. Never mind what the stress of unemployment might do to their health.
Working people really began to wonder whether it was really good to have an employer have that much power over one’s life.
But modern companies want to provide good employees, and prospective employees, with the best packages possible. They understand that without good people, they will not thrive, and they will not survive over the long term.
Yet, health insurance as we know it is a serious cost to employers. Private insurance exchanges may be a vehicle to reduce those costs, and still provide affordable insurance to employees. If they can be devised so that the employee doesn’t necessarily lose benefits if he is laid off (he may lose the company subsidy), these exchanges might be the perfect solution.
We all want affordable health care. We all want to be able get the care we need under any conditions, without impoverishing ourselves or our families.
Between the government exchanges and the private ones, we might be on to a good, long-term solution.
Sure, the federal exchange Web site has had glitches. These, hopefully, are fixable. We might have to tweak the Affordable Care Act as time passes, to make sure it’s as effective, and inexpensive, as it can be to those insured, while not creating too big a government expenditure.
What if you had enough money on your own to buy whatever insurance you wanted? That would be ideal. If you are looking for a way to do that, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau.
Meanwhile, shop carefully on whatever exchanges which you are allowed to shop. Choose the plan that is right for you. Also remember that paying penalties is throwing money away. Even though it might cost you more, when you buy actual insurance, you are at least getting something for your money. So buy insurance. You, your family and your community will be healthier for it.
Peter

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