Monday, September 14, 2009

Employers & Health Care, Episode 19327

Consider this note from the CEO of a once-growing technology company in the midst, like too many these days, of a major restructuring.

"As you guys saw from the draft termination letter from [our current health plan], we have had this policy in place for only 13.75 months - 4.25 months short of the number that puts the HIPAA 'portability' guarantee into place for our people. As I understand it, under the law we are all eligible for that guarantee regardless, as we had coverage from [our previous health plan] in the months prior to 8/1. But adding a second look-back carrier to prove that to any third and subsequent carrier inserts one more node of potential administrative failure which the third carrier would fully exploit to deny somebody coverage for any big medical stuff. So regardless of any other administrative decisions re: our people, let's keep this restored coverage in place with [current health plan] until we pass the 18-month mark, in the interest of minimizing potential points of failure on the one thing that could ruin one of our people faster than anything else out there."

Unless we want to write this off as paranoia and/or micro-management, let's consider a really basic question: why should the CEO of a technology company be this knowledgeable - and this anxious in this much detail - about health insurance regulations and how they play out in the real world? Is this anyway to run an economy?

The right answer, as with so much in health care is political. Health insurance should be completely portable for all US citizens, among all licensed health plan carriers; if one element of the Obama health reform package survives the next political storm, this should be it - so that the busy people charged with growing the US economy out of this miserable hole can focus on their real jobs.

In the meanwhile, if you were reporting to or consulting with this CEO, would you agree with what he says his company should do?


  1. The CEO seems to be held hostage by his employees. Every company hits that stage; each person seems indispensable. He should make the best decision for the company, which may not be the popular choice, and let the chips fall where they may. Plenty of good talent out there to replace the whiners.

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