Self Insured Medical Plans - The Way Out, or the Next Financial Crises?
by Michael Fox
A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation Employer Health Benefits 2003 Annual Survey showing a continuing increase in coverage of either fully or partially self funded plans (now 52% of all workers in the US) was the springboard for a story in the Charlotte Observer which asks the important question, Are you in good insurance hands?. But the tone of the story, which was published in several papers around the country, seems a lot more ominous than the results of the study. As important as medical insurance is (and as much money is involved in self funding) no one would question the need to stay vigilant to possible problems with those plans, but let's not jump the gun. Perhaps a bigger issue, also highlighted in the study and other articles is the disappearance of employer provided or even supplemented health care for retirees. Perhaps the lead in the Detroit Free Press story, BOOMER BUST: Retiring workers face health cost quagmire says it best: "This is not your parents' retirement."