March 22, 2013
THE POWER OF THE POCKETBOOK:
To Save, Workers Take On Health-Cost Risk ( ANNA WILDE MATHEWS, 3/17/13, WSJ)
Posted by Orrin Judd at March 22, 2013 5:23 PMLast fall, two big employers embarked on a radical new approach to employee health benefits, offering workers a sum of money and allowing them to choose their health plans on an online marketplace. Now, the first results are in: Many workers were willing to choose lower-priced plans that required them to pay more out of their pockets for health care.The new online marketplace, operated by consulting firm Aon AON +1.39% Hewitt, a unit of Aon PLC, was used by more than 100,000 employees of Sears Holdings Corp. SHLD +0.71% and Darden Restaurants Inc., DRI +1.31% as well as Aon itself, to pick plans for 2013. The employers gave workers a set contribution to use toward health benefits, and they could opt to pay more each month to get richer plans, or choose cheaper ones that might have bigger out-of-pocket fees, such as higher deductibles."When people are spending their own money, they tend to be more consumeristic," said Ken Sperling, Aon Hewitt's national health exchange strategy leader.
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