As government health exchanges come on line in 2014, employers may decide to let employees buy their own coverage instead of providing health benefits. Employers will have to pay penalties for cutting workers from insurance rolls, but workers could see more in their paychecks from the money that had been going to pay for health benefits. The downside is that wages are taxed while money to pay health benefits is not. But this would allow the government to raise more money for health reform, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Of course, there’s no telling what will happen. Paul Fronstin, director of the Health Research & Education Program at the Employee Benefit Research Institute, says many employers canceled fringe benefits like matching 401(k) plans, but weren’t more likely to drop health benefits than they were before the recession.
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