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Ready or not, health reform is coming

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Articles - November 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Struggling with rising costs

1110_HealthGraph01A few more years of business-as-usual in the health care world could be bad news for John Clark and his Gresham rubber stamp company Stamp-Connection.

Four years after he started his business in 2001, Clark began offering his employees — he has 11 total, including himself — 100% paid medical, dental and life insurance. He also covers his family and those of three managers.

Double-digit price increases over the past three years, however, have begun to tighten the line. The health benefits now cost the company, which has annual revenues of about $1.25 million, roughly $90,000 a year. And Clark is expecting similar increases over the next few years, which is why he’s anxious for health care reform to kick in.

“Any change is good at this point because the status quo is just killing us,” he says, noting that offering handsome benefits has helped him attract loyal, long-term employees. “We can’t keep going at this rate.”

To help deal with the cost increases thus far, co-pays for Stamp-Connection employees have risen slightly. If the expenses continue to rise, Clark says he may have to ask employees to contribute toward their monthly premiums. He says he also is concerned that costs could shoot up precipitously on the way to 2014 as health providers scramble to generate as much revenue as possible before new regulations take effect.

Under the federal reform, small businesses like Stamp-Connection that offer health benefits may be eligible for additional tax credits. Clarks says he’s also looking forward to the new insurance exchange, which he says might offer lower prices or at least make current providers more competitive.

But a lot could happen between now and 2014, so Clark isn’t looking at any of the reforms as definite. Instead, he’ll continue offering his employees the best benefits he can, encourage wellness among his workers and keep his fingers crossed that whatever comes of health care reform will be good for business — and the country.

“The next three years are going to be very telling as to how we shake this out,” he says, “but as a society, we really do need to shake this out.”



0 #1 It's Early Enough and the News is All BadLisa 2010-10-26 11:47:30
This bill was not about healthcare it was about government control. It has added burdensome regulations, totally unrelated to healthcare (the 1099 requirements for purchases), took over student loans and requires hiring of tens of thousands of IRS agents. What does this have to do with healthcare? NOTHING.

They did nothing to reduce costs such as tort reform or allowing purchases across state lines, or relief from all of the mandates. They got rid of HSAs that gave PATIENTS control over healthcare dollars. Do you want to know WHY costs of insurance go up? Require more services, require all companies to take on the high risk customers instead of funding a 'high risk' pool for those who find insurance difficult or impossible to purchase.

This bill was written by lawyers, for lawyers and will require the hiring of even more lawyers. It's enough to make anyone sick!
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