Often, when the government wants you to do something, it makes you pay if you don’t. That would seem to be the case with Obamacare, which penalizes companies for not providing health care. But in that penalty, there could be a paradoxical result: dropping health coverage could save companies a lot of money.
Once new health insurance exchanges are up and running in October, companies with 50 or more full-time employees will face a choice: Provide affordable care to all full-time employees, or pay a penalty. But that penalty is only $2,000 a person, excluding the first 30 employees. With an employer’s contribution to family health coverage now averaging $11,429 a year, taking that penalty would seem to yield big savings.
Yet there may be costs in employee satisfaction, especially if companies don’t raise pay enough to keep workers whole when they buy insurance on the exchanges.
“No one wants to drop health insurance and have unhappy employees,” says Rick Wald, who heads Deloitte’s employer health care consulting practice.