Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A public insurance option in health reform legislation could lead some companies to drop employer-based insurance coverage and associated wellness plans, Reuters' Ellen Wulfhorst reports.

"Certainly there are employers now that don't offer healthcare benefits, and if there's a public plan in place, undoubtedly that number will go up," said Lewis Maltby, president of the National Workrights Institute, an advocacy group for human rights in the workplace. "Some employers will certainly say, 'I'm out of here. Use the government plan.'"

About two-thirds of large U.S. companies offer some sort of wellness program to lower the health insurance costs, combat absenteeism and boost productivity.

One incentive under consideration would give tax credits to companies for wellness programs. A Senate proposal would also set aside funds for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to serve as a resource for companies to help them establish and standardize wellness program practices.


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