Many American employees depend on their employers for health insurance. However, the 2017 Republican health care plan could mean the end of employer-based health insurance for millions of people. As a result, many people are worried that their employers might stop offering health insurance.
Republicans estimate that their health plan will lead to $337 million in savings. However, those savings could have a large human cost, with 24 million people left without health insurance. Experts predict that more and more employers are likely to stop offering health coverage.
Traditionally, benefits such as health insurance have helped employers attract the most talented workers to their organizations. However, changes to tax credits could mean that it is more beneficial for employers to offer higher salaries instead of attractive benefits. If you're thinking of applying for a new job soon, you might find it more difficult to find a job that offers a great benefits package.
Small businesses could be among the first to stop offering health insurance. Experts also believe that companies that have high employee turnover are more likely to drop the coverage they offer. Similarly, local businesses that draw their workforces from a single region may be more likely to drop their health coverage, as they have fewer employers to compete with when hiring. However, large businesses may be unwilling to risk losing a large slice of their workforce by cutting their benefits packages.
Over the last few years, the number of employers offering health insurance has already decreased. In 2000, nearly 70 percent of Americans under the age of 65 had employer-sponsored health insurance. By 2011, this percentage dropped to just 58.3 percent. With health insurance costs rising, fewer employers are willing to take on the financial burden of insuring their employees. The Republican health care plan could cause even more employers to drop health care coverage, causing this percentage to decrease even further.
On the other hand, employees can take comfort in the fact that the latest health care reforms come hot on the heels of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Many companies overhauled their health benefits just a few years ago, to comply with the ACA. These employers may be reluctant to go through the administrative hurdle of reforming their benefit programs all over again.
Whether you work for a big company or a small business, you may be worried that the repeal of the ACA could spell the end of your employer-sponsored health insurance. Although there is a significant risk that employers could withdraw health coverage, some companies are likely to continue offering benefits. If you are worried about your health insurance, talk to your employer about your concerns so you can better prepare for whatever the future holds.
Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net