The healthcare savings strategy you should be pitching

Health insurance costs are skyrocketing, but nearly two-thirds of Americans are okay with businesses taking this way out.



Producers have been charged with selling some of the priciest small group health plans in recent years, with premiums skyrocketing as much as 588% in some cases. Lessening the blow may be somewhat easier than expected, however, according to results from a new survey.

A poll of 1,000 adults living in the continental US reveals that nearly two-thirds (68%) of Americans don’t have a problem with businesses adding a nominal surcharge to each bill in order to help pay for employees’ health insurance.

“Most Americans may be able to swallow an extra 25 cents on their bill at their favorite restaurant,” said insurance analyst Doug Whiteman.

Support for the practice was highest among 18- to 29-year-olds and lowest among those 65 and older, with a vocal 22% of Americans who said they would stop going to a business that charged an “Obamacare surcharge.”

Whiteman characterized the practice of passing along healthcare costs to customers as “absolutely a solution” for commercial clients groaning under the pressure of weightier health insurance premiums—particularly for those employers with fewer than 50 workers, who are not required to provide employee plans but may want to do so.

“The health insurance system is primarily built on receiving coverage through your job. This is why employers have been offering insurance for decades,” Whiteman told Insurance Business. “It’s seen as a perk that would attract good employees.”

Even the 22% who threatened to discontinue patronage of a business that employed such a practice may not be much of a concern. After all, “it’s tough to say if people would follow up on this threat—especially if healthcare fees became widespread,” noted Whiteman.

“The survey might suggest that Americans understand passing along healthcare costs is just the cost of doing business,” he concluded. “They may think, ‘If my employer provides me with health insurance, it’s only fair that yours does, too.’ The money has to come from somewhere.”

And unlike recommending minimum-value, high-deductible plans, passing along this strategy doesn't reduce producer commission.

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