September 18, 2013
OUR REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT:
Walgreen to Shift Health Plan for 160,000 Workers (TIMOTHY W. MARTIN and CHRISTOPHER WEAVER, 9/18/13, WSJ)
Conservative plan in, conservative results out.Walgreen Co. is set to become one of the largest employers yet to make sweeping changes to company-backed health programs. On Wednesday, the drugstore giant disclosed a plan to provide payments to eligible employees for the subsidized purchase of insurance starting in 2014. The plan will affect roughly 160,000 employees, and will require them to shop for coverage on a private health-insurance marketplace. [...]Like the shift from pension plans to 401 (k) plans beginning in the 1980s, the moves mark a transition in which employers are handing their workers more control over their benefits, some experts say. But as companies set their contributions at fixed amounts to limit benefits spending, workers could wind up shouldering a greater share of the burden if health costs increase.Medical prices are rising at their slowest pace in a half century, according to Commerce Department data. That trend may help businesses, but it also reflects how cost burdens are shifting to patients. Many are being asked to comparison-shop or make tough choices on medical care as their health plans have become less generous.
Posted by Orrin Judd at September 18, 2013 1:37 PM