Sponsored by Lane Powell

Searching for a Cure

| Print |  Email
Articles - July/August 2014
Friday, July 11, 2014

Healthy Business Alliance

Nationwide, President Obama and the business community haven’t always seen eye to eye on health care reform — perhaps understandably, considering the hefty financial burden the ACA’s employer mandate represents for medium- and large-size businesses. In Oregon, though, a tradition of health care innovation and a progressive, health-conscious ethos has nurtured a more proactive dynamic between business and reform advocates.

For example, when the president last year delayed the employer mandate, giving businesses with 50 or more workers additional time to provide health coverage to their employees, his decision came in response to stiff opposition from larger employers across the country. But in Oregon, it appears these bigger businesses aren’t waiting for the mandate to go into effect to offer benefits. “My sense is that they know it’s coming, so they’re just getting ahead of it,” says D.J. Vogt, vice president of government affairs for the Oregon Business Association.

Even some employers with fewer than 50 workers, who were never required to provide coverage, are doing so here, anecdotal evidence suggests. More than 200 smaller businesses, for instance, have signed up with Health Republic. “My guess would have been that now that there’s individual coverage with guaranteed issue, and maybe a subsidy, small employers would say, ‘Go out there! Good luck to you!’” says CEO Bonder.

But in this labor market, she continues, employers need to offer coverage to be competitive: “To get your choice of the best and the brightest, you’re competing with companies that are offering health benefits,” Vogt concurs, adding that many Oregon business owners simply see providing coverage as the right thing to do. “It doesn’t surprise me that people are doing that,” he says. “I feel that’s just part of an ethos that comes with the territory here.”

Some insurance executives predict that once Cover Oregon is fully functioning and there’s more certainty in the individual market, under-50-employee businesses in Oregon may do exactly what Bonder imagined they would. Prows, of Oregon’s Health CO-OP, says the “prevailing prediction” in the industry is that smaller employers will opt to offer a defined contribution for individual insurance instead of sponsoring their own health plan.

For these businesses and their workers, that would mean the end of employer-provided health coverage as we know it. “I think it’s early to just have small employers say, ‘OK, good luck,’” says William Johnson, president of Moda. “But I do think that may happen in the future.”

As the fate of small-group insurance — like that of CO-OPs, hospitals and CCOs — hangs in the balance, reform proponents underscore the potential for meaningful change. If nothing else, Johnson says, the ACA has started a far-reaching, industry-wide discussion: “We’re all engaging in a conversation now that’s going to change health care as we know it.” 



 

More Articles

Balancing Act

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY DAN COOK

The Affordable Care Act has triggered a rush on health care plan redesign, a process fraught with hidden costs and consequences.


Read more...

Business partnerships: taming the three-headed monster

Contributed Blogs
Monday, July 06, 2015
070615-businessmarriagefail-thumbBY KATHERINE HEEKIN | OB GUEST COLUMNIST

Picking a business partner is not much different than choosing a spouse or life partner, and the business break-up can be as heart-wrenching and costly as divorce.


Read more...

The 5 highest revenue-generating parks in Oregon

The Latest
Thursday, June 11, 2015
parksthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

In 2014, total revenue for camping and day use in Oregon State Parks was a little more than $17 million. That figure may even higher this year "because we've had exceptionally nice weather," Hughes says.


Read more...

Fueling Up for the Climb

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY GREGG MORRIS

Rita Hansen aims to scale natural gas vehicle innovation.


Read more...

5 things to know about veterans in the workforce

The Latest
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
070215-vetsthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

There are more than 10 million former military members working in the United States.


Read more...

Stemming the tide of money in politics

Linda Baker
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
 jeff-lang-2012-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

Jeff Lang and his wife Rae used to dole out campaign checks like candy.  “We were like alcoholics,” Lang says. ”We couldn’t just give a little.”


Read more...

Oregon needs a Grand Bargain energy plan

Linda Baker
Monday, June 22, 2015
0622-gastaxblogthumbBY LINDA BAKER

The Clean Fuels/gas tax trade off will go down in history as another disjointed, on-again off-again approach to city and state lawmaking.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS