According to the 2008 Salary.com “Employee Satisfaction and Retention Survey,” 20 percent of workers view health benefits as a reason for remaining in their current job or taking a job offer. Unfortunately, after years of cost-shifting and plan-changing, more and more companies are considering eliminating health benefits because of the rising cost of health insurance.
In fact, health insurance expenses are the fastest growing cost component for employers. Already a dangerous balancing act, these costs may overtake company profits in the near future. An increasing number of companies have already reached the threshold beyond which they cannot pass costs on to their employees.
Research found in the policy journal Health Affairs notes that since 2001, premiums have increased 59 percent and employee contributions have grown by 57 percent for single coverage and 49 percent for family coverage. In addition, the percentage of workers covered by their own employer’s health plan fell from 65 percent in 2001 to 61 percent in 2004.
In the past, limited medical (or mini-med) plans were designed for businesses that traditionally relied on temporary, hourly, part-time, or seasonal employees. Since these consumers seldom qualified for traditional, employer-paid benefits, this type of workforce can save companies plenty of money. In that regard, mini-med beneficiaries have traditionally been employees in the retail, hospitality, food service, and staffing sectors — in other words, those who earn an hourly wage and have no access to employer-paid or subsidized health care.
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Now, these plans still represent an important alternative to zero coverage, but they also offer an affordable bridge between first-dollar medical expenses and a high-deductible employer-sponsored plan for a wider selection of workers.