Co-Pay? No Way, Healthcare Changes Looming

Companies dropping co-payment for co-insurance

Healthcare open season is ushering a new change that could affect employee pockets indefinitely.

This year, many employers are making the shift from health plans that offer co-pays to health plans that offer co-insurance, a concept that makes employees responsible for paying a percentage of their health care costs instead of paying a flat rate each time he or she visits the doctor.

Employees will now have to pay rates that range between 10 to 40 percent of the health care costs, which is a stark difference to the $10 to $40 per visit some people spend on a single doctor’s visit.

According to Towers Waters, a benefits consulting firm, nearly half of the companies that it surveys are moving towards this model of health care investment including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co. It’s a cost saver for companies, and it puts emphasis on preventative care.

Despite the grousing from employees, employers aren’t backing down; the expectation is that employees will eventually acquiesce to the program. To encourage the transition from co-pay to coinsurance some bosses are adding incentives like depositing cash in employee flexible spending accounts and health savings accounts or offering reimbursements for yoga memberships.

Still, co-insurance could be a major problem for employees because of the amount of bills they will have to manage. The elimination of the co-pay means that bills will arrive via snail mail making the onus of managing the debt on the employee. One misstep could lead to debt collection and potential credit problems.

If an employee is worried that he or she could fall into the gap, the best solution is to ask for help before making a trip to the doctor. Health care advocates are available for employees having issues with the transition from co-pay to coinsurance. They will advise you on how to negotiate lower fees with your primary care physician, they will fight for affordable payment plans and locate alternative health care solutions that could save money.

Visit Healthcare Advocates to find assistance.

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