Thursday, September 23, 2010

Multiple Employers Banding Together to Lower Health Care- Good Idea?

Another idea being bantered about to lower health care costs revolves around the idea that employers should band together to lower their health care costs. Good idea? Yes or no. If you said no, then you are right.

Regardless of how many people band together the actual healthcare costs for the individuals will be the same. Think in terms of adding 1+1+1=3. Whether you have the sum of three or three ones the total is the same. So what changes? In theory these groups could negotiate lower premiums by demanding lower administrative, marketing and profit margins.

The problem for the insurer is that these "artificial" groups represent higher risks to insure since these "artificial" contracting groups are made up of individual employers that could opt in or out of the group. Those employers with healthy employees could in many instances get lower premium rates by opting out. Those employers with employees that generate higher health care claims would stay in the group looking for a subsidy from the other employers.

Over time the "group" would become "toxic" from an insurance point of view and insurers, who have a long history insuring these types of groups, would avoid them. Once again normal economic theory does not work.

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