Aon Hewitt’s Ken Sperling talks to me about its revolutionary plans for US corporate healthcare

5 Nov

As a result of ‘Obamacare,’ the legislation which makes a level of private healthcare mandatory for all US citizens – and state provision of public ‘Medicaid’ for those at 133% or below the poverty line – many large corporations will have to take measures to improve the coverage they offer employees. Aon Hewitt has foreseen the niche that has arisen for one national forum, where employees can trade relative healthcare plans, and compare their relative merits.

Aon Hewitt’s  National Health Care Exchange Strategy leader, Ken Sperling, drew an analogy with Apple’s populist, universal exchange forum: “There are examples in every industry, including iTunes, Amazon.com and Orbitz, where the introduction of competition on a retail, consumer level has driven down prices and made the industry more efficient.”

The new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) has laid out plans for public health insurance marketplaces, but for small businesses seeking to purchase coverage for their employees, these will only be operational from 2014; for larger corporations, from 2017.

When questioned, more than 562 of employees in 2012 than 40 percent of employers avowed that they expected to participate in a health care exchange in the next three-to-five years. Three of the corporations confirmed after the announcement of the scheme include Sears, Darden Restaurants and Aon’s U.S. colleagues.

Sperling declares the scheme is “the first multi-carrier, fully insured corporate health care exchange in the United States.” Its open and competitive structure enables employees “to select group health insurance plans and carriers that best meet their needs,” with a broader range of prices and options.

The range of possible choices includes 5 medical, 4 dental and 3 vision plans, with 5 medical carriers, and 3 each for dental and vision. Specialist advisers from the Advocacy Support team are on hand to help tailor a unique combination of benefits.

The insurance companies jostling to offer benefits under the scheme include nine national and regional carriers: UnitedHealthcare, Cigna and Health Care Service Corporation, to name but a few. The latter operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans for 14 million members. The number of employees already enrolled in Aon Hewitt’s composite scheme was 100,000 in the week it was announced. But economic and political conditions indicate that its popularity could spiral.

Sperling points to the fact that “Since 2006, large employer costs for health care have gone up 40 percent while employee costs (out-of-pocket expenses and payroll contributions) have gone up 82 percent…Cost pressure and volatility, health care reform, and population health concerns have made this a critical time in U.S. health care.”

Is there a lesson to be learnt for UK insurance companies? With consumers complaining about the spiralling costs of motor and home insurance, particularly after heavy rains made flood protection a greater concern, is it time one of the insurance giants stepped into the breach with a national car insurance exchange? There must be some way to differentiate now that recent legislation has made it compulsory to pay a premium on all vehicles – and now there is no longer grounds to discriminate on the basis of the driver’s sex. Forget gender equality and let the free market decide.

As a result of ‘Obamacare,’ the legislation which makes a level of private healthcare mandatory for all US citizens – and state provision of public ‘Medicaid’ for those at 133% or below the poverty line – many large corporations will have to take measures to improve the coverage they offer employees. Aon Hewitt has foreseen the niche that has arisen for one national forum, where employees can trade relative healthcare plans, and compare their relative merits.

Aon Hewitt’s  National Health Care Exchange Strategy leader, Ken Sperling, drew an analogy with Apple’s populist, universal exchange forum: “There are examples in every industry, including iTunes, Amazon.com and Orbitz, where the introduction of competition on a retail, consumer level has driven down prices and made the industry more efficient.”

The new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) has laid out plans for public health insurance marketplaces, but for small businesses seeking to purchase coverage for their employees, these will only be operational from 2014; for larger corporations, from 2017.

When questioned, more than 562 of employees in 2012 than 40 percent of employers avowed that they expected to participate in a health care exchange in the next three-to-five years. Three of the corporations confirmed after the announcement of the scheme include Sears, Darden Restaurants and Aon’s U.S. colleagues.

Sperling declares the scheme is “the first multi-carrier, fully insured corporate health care exchange in the United States.” Its open and competitive structure enables employees “to select group health insurance plans and carriers that best meet their needs,” with a broader range of prices and options.

The range of possible choices includes 5 medical, 4 dental and 3 vision plans, with 5 medical carriers, and 3 each for dental and vision. Specialist advisers from the Advocacy Support team are on hand to help tailor a unique combination of benefits.

The insurance companies jostling to offer benefits under the scheme include nine national and regional carriers: UnitedHealthcare, Cigna and Health Care Service Corporation, to name but a few. The latter operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans for 14 million members. The number of employees already enrolled in Aon Hewitt’s composite scheme was 100,000 in the week it was announced. But economic and political conditions indicate that its popularity could spiral.

Sperling points to the fact that “Since 2006, large employer costs for health care have gone up 40 percent while employee costs (out-of-pocket expenses and payroll contributions) have gone up 82 percent…Cost pressure and volatility, health care reform, and population health concerns have made this a critical time in U.S. health care.”

Is there a lesson to be learnt for UK insurance companies? With consumers complaining about the spiralling costs of motor and home insurance, particularly after heavy rains made flood protection a greater concern, is it time one of the insurance giants stepped into the breach with a national car insurance exchange? There must be some way to differentiate now that recent legislation has made it compulsory to pay a premium on all vehicles – and now there is no longer grounds to discriminate on the basis of the driver’s sex. Forget gender equality and let the free market decide.

Image

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: