Confusion about out-of-pocket health care costs is making some people reluctant to seek the health care services they need. A survey of Wisconsin public employees by the La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin—Madison aimed to learn more about people’s experiences with their health plans and their understanding of the health care system. Professor J. Michael Collins, faculty director of the Center for Financial Security at UW–Madison, shared survey results during a May event titled, “Managing Out-of-Pocket Medical Expenses: How Well are Families Prepared for a World of High Deductibles?”
Moving “upstream” can help employers who self-fund their health benefits improve outcomes, lower costs and gain more “joy in supporting employees,” according to Dr. Rishi Manchanda, a primary care physician, public health innovator and former health system executive.
As proposed legislation and regulation moves through the federal and state lawmaking process, employers can contact their legislators or participate in other Alliance activities aimed at alerting policymakers to the potential impact of their actions.
A $44 million tax bill was sent to an employer who made that mistake and then turned to John Barlament, a partner at Quarles and Brady, for help in correcting the issue. While the penalty was eventually corrected and reduced to zero, the situation shows the potential problems that employers can face when dealing with health benefits regulations.
Staying current on state and federal policymakers’ approach to health benefits can feel like a continual pop quiz. That makes the game show Jeopardy! a good approach to understanding the current health policy challenges facing employers.