It’s not difficult to find examples in everyday life of people, businesses, and organizations who, when faced with certain obligations, usually ones dictated by law, do the bare minimum in order to be in compliance and avoid disciplinary action. They do only enough to keep them out of trouble, which when you really get down to it, violates the spirit of the regulations.
It should come as no surprise, then, to know that in an insurance plan survey conducted by the National Business Group on Health, one in six companies plan to offer skimpy health insurance plans to their employees. By doing so, these large employers evade penalties set up by the mandates of the Affordable Care Act, despite the plans’ inadequacies.
What’s Defined As A Skimpy Health Plan?
Known more often as a skinny health plan, there are different permutations out there. But for the most part, these health plans cover preventative care only; you can forget about out-patient or in-patient treatment. The plans count as minimal essential coverage, and not only does it keep companies out of trouble, it shields employees from getting individually penalized for not being insured. In fact, some employees have actually asked to have access to skinny plans, and some businesses have responded by offering them in order to stay competitive and retain employees.
A Way Bad Idea
At first glance, this seems like an ideal solution for everyone involved. Companies don’t have to offer lavish health insurance benefits which would dent their bottom line, and employees can get these cheap minimal plans that result in smaller payroll deductions, and everyone avoids the big bad Government and its fines and penalties.
The problem is, the parties are playing dice with employees’ health. A thirty-something man who doesn’t smoke, eats right, drinks only to moderation, exercises regularly, and never gets sick, may decide to go along with this skinny plan idea, confident that the minimal insurance is just fine for his needs. Then that same man can step into his car, drive off, and promptly get plowed into by an 18-wheeler driven by a half-asleep trucker. Congratulations! Even if the man in question survives this, his medical bills will be astronomical, because the only coverage he has is for an annual “turn your head and cough” doctor visit.
This doesn’t even take into account those situations where people who are healthy as a horse end up having some sort of genetic condition, or perhaps an aneurysm that’s building up, ready to burst at any moment. Fact is, you can’t predict stuff like crappy drivers or hidden health issues, but you sure as heck can plan for them and help minimize their impact.
Skinny Plans Are Bad For Business
While a skinny plan may seem pretty great for employees who are already working for the company that’s offering it, professionals who are looking for a job will most likely think twice before signing up with a company that skimps on benefits like this. People who are skilled, gifted professionals know that they can fetch not only a good salary, but also a generous benefits package, and a skinny health plan is nothing even close to a generous benefit. Besides, any savvy prospective employee knows that a plan like this is just asking for trouble.
So, in an effort to save money, be in minimal compliance with the law, and because some employees want to be penny wise and pound foolish, a company may offer a plan that effectively removes them from consideration of some truly valuable, skilled professionals.
Instead, companies should use health plans to attract and retain employees, as this article demonstrates. Paying out a little more money up front means long-term gains.