Friday, November 13, 2009

Controlling the uncontrollable

We all know the cost of health care continues to spiral as Congress continues to debate the merits of a full-scale overhaul. In fact, the November issue of The Zweig HR Letter recently looked at the merits of giving employees who opt out of the firm's health care coverage an incentive. In The Board Room's first post from a firm leader, Robert M. Dankese, Jr., principal and chief financial officer at Howard/Stein-Hudson Associates, Inc. (Boston, MA) a 45-person consulting firm in the areas of transportation planning, traffic engineering, civil engineering, and public involvement/strategic planning, looks at the issue from the inside:

"The spiraling cost of health care is a concern for anyone running a business these days. Our open enrollment and renewal period is Jan. 1. We recently met with our insurance agent and our renewal rates were 17%. It’s too much of an increase to just say okay and move on, especially with many double-digit increases in years prior to this one, so we explore the different options with plan changes. That comes with its own host of challenges. With times tough for a lot of individuals and families, any plan change to them, looks effectively like a pay cut for them. I know all companies having been facing the issue of rising health care costs and many have made plan changes to lessen the increase that their business is facing."

How’s your firm doing handling heath care increases? Have you made plan design changes in the past that have been more accepted by employees and if so, what are they?

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