Monday, August 17, 2009

Like Your Health Insurance? Maybe You Shouldn't.

However, the employer-based system has two major weaknesses. First, and most obviously, it means keeping your health insurance is dependent on keeping your job. That means that your health is only insured to the extent that your job is insured -- and your job isn't insured. If you lose your job, or get a divorce from the spouse whose employer covers you, you have to find a new employer who offers a health plan, or you will be stuck in the individual market. Alternatively, if you get sick, you may be stuck in your job, no matter how much you may want or need to leave it.

Second, employers are dropping their health plans; the percentage of people covered through an employer has dropped from 64 percent in 2000 to 59 percent in 2007, and that decline is likely to accelerate. Why? Because, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey, the average annual premium for family coverage has already increased from $5,791 in 1999 to $12,680 in 2008 -- a 9 percent annual increase -- and a study published in Health Affairs forecasts that national health spending will grow at an average annual rate of 6.7 percent until 2017. Arithmetically, with each year that passes, it becomes harder for companies to keep their health plans without reducing benefits, reducing wages or increasing employee contributions to health plans.

The bottom line is that your current health plan may not be as good as you think it is, and there is a good chance that it will not be around when you need it.

Read it all at

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