Lukewarm Take #4: Decouple Insurance Benefits from Employers

Posted on January 2, 2021

It’s time to separate health insurance from employers. The existing status quo benefits employers more than workers and leaves workers in a dangerous position of dependence on their employer.

Personal Freedom

A major benefit of the existing employer/worker relationship (for the employer) is that the employer has an additional retention scheme for workers. This is a charitable way of saying that workers feel uncomfortable finding different work because any change in insurance can have unforeseen consequences. Workers are even less inclined to take a leave of absence or undertake their own business endeavor where they will likely have to pay much more for insurance or drop their coverage entirely. This limits personal mobility for the worker and heavily favors the employer in an already lopsided relationship.

Illusion of Choice

There are a few ways in which this existing model provides “choices” to workers. The first way is simply price. When a worker has options between an employer provided insurance plan and a personal plan, obviously the personal plan will be more expensive when an employer is not covering any portion of it. Clearly this is compounded when the worker needs to provide for dependents. There are few, if any, situations where a worker would pick the personal plan in this sitation.

The second illusion is the option of plans provided by an employer. When an employer provides multiple choices of plans workers do get the benefit of choosing which specific plan offers them the most monetary benefit. However, if an employer decides there is some specific treatment or coverage is against their organization’s “religious views” then they won’t cover it. In this case the typical way for a worker to get this covered would be to find a new job. Much easier said than done.

Health Should NOT be a Privilege

Only those with significant economic privilege can meaningfully personalize their healthcare and separate it from any employer that they might have. All of us should have a right to healthcare and good health. No person should be forced to choose between incredible debt or their own personal well being.

Folx should have full rights over their own bodies. We need to strive to tear down discriminatory medical practices of all types. This can’t be done without decoupling insurance from employers and ensuring that everyone has the same level of healthcare.

Not sure how this is even still a discussion.