Letter to Employees

This is part of a letter I just sent to my employees:

*In speaking with the owners of (company A) and (company B), both times the conversation turned to health insurance. With the “Obamacare” legislation being passed and coming into effect, we are not only going to be taxed on our current health insurance, but our insurance rates will be skyrocketing, yet again. (other business owner), myself, and the owners of (company A) and (company B) just looked at each other and said – and I quote – “we don’t know what we are going to do”. Note that this is not a political statement in any way, I am simply sharing with you the reality of the situation.

We have always considered “free” health insurance to our employees to be one of the massive benefits we like to provide, but if these increases go through as expected, the model will simply be untenable.

There may be decreased coverage, employee contributions, decreased profit sharing, and/or a combination of all three, or perhaps something else. We are not sure where this will take us, but we will do the best we can to come up with the best solution for everyone. Just be aware that there is a possibility of changes in the future. You will have ample notification and time if and when any changes are made.*

The train is coming down the tracks.

14 thoughts on “Letter to Employees”

  1. Dan:

    Did you have to add a box to their W2s this year that showed how much their health insurance cost?

    Would that give you an opening to some dialog?

  2. Is an option a high deductible plan (if those are even still allowed) combined with an HSA or flex spending account, so employees can use pre-tax dollars for expenses?

    It’ll be interesting see where employee anger is directed as more and more people receive similar letters at their workplace; at the greedy insurers, or at Washington. If the insurance/medical industry has enough wits, they can educate people that “hey, we just effectively got nationalized, and these price hikes are basically new taxes we’re deputized to collect. So don’t yell at us.”

  3. We are actually researching self funding mechanisms, i.e. we just pay out of pocket for minor things, and have actual insurance for major things like open heart surgery, etc. and also looking and reading about other options. We are trying everything we can, but somethings gotta give. And I run just a small company, imagine multiplying this across the whole economy. It hurts to think about it.

  4. Dan – Good on you to approach the issue in this manner. I’m sure that your employees appreciate being treated with respect, even when presented with such news.

    I think many people who do not keep up with current events will be hit by this and their anger will be compounded, and to some degree misdirected, by employers HR departments attempting to soft-pedal the negative consequences of the legislation.

  5. The main villain is the cost of hospitalization which is driven by labor union demands. Second driver are the enormous salaries paid to administrators (none of whom is a doctor). The third driver are malpractice lawyers whose feees not only add billions to the cost of medicine but also make the practice of medicine dangerous for patients by limiting doctor-patient communications. The fourth driver is Medicare which has reduced medical practive to a number in a code book that has a 1000 codes added each month. Medicare is a federal price control system and, like all price controls, it drives prices up, up, and further up. Without it, all medical prices would be much, much lower.

    I had a stent inserted Feb 1 as an out-patient. I walked into the operating room, climbed on the table, was awake during the insertion, watched it on the TV monitor next to the operating table, and left the hospital the next morning. The play by play announcer could have been better. Total hospital cost was $55,166.55. Medicare got a 50% discount. The surgeon billed separately. I think the hospital billed $55,000 too much. I feel sorry for the poor suckers who will lose their homes and cars because they don’t have insurance.

    So how can we solve this problem? In Henry VI, Act 4, Scene 2 Dick the Butcher has the answer.

  6. And the downward spiral continues. It is sad that a country this rich can’t afford proper healthcare and now it seems making it too expensive for corporations to step in and provide healthcare as employee benefits.

    I am glad you are treating your employees well and you are trying to do the right thing.

  7. Dan from Madison “We show them every year exactly how much it [health insurance] costs. We don’t make a secret of it.”

    As does my employer. Every year we get a detailed report showing not only our salaries but the costs of all benefits.

  8. As someone living with Obamacare’s precursor in Massachusetts, the intent of the legislation (to get insurance industries buy-in to insure the chronically ill) is to structure the coverage so that everyone is forced to buy an insurance package that covers every possible medical occurance from birth to death regardless of age or gender. Though I’m 65 I have to be covered for ob/gyn, child birth, pediatrics, prostate cancer. So the only insurance I can buy is $650/month.
    I can no longer buy high deductible, high co-pay, low premium insurance. There’s one price and it’s non-negotiable.
    Welcome to government run whatever it is.

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