Workforce.com

New Coalitions Formed to Expand Health Care Access

May 11, 2004
Two new coalitions based in Washington, D.C. have formed to improve access to health care for about four million working Americans who lack health insurance. The initiatives are led by the HR Policy Association, a lobbying group of senior human resources executives in the United States.
 
The first group of employers will try to pool part-timers, contractors, temps, retirees under 65, people whose COBRA coverage has run out, and their dependents. The employers will select one health plan for this group, hoping that it will offer people at least some benefits even if the employees have pre-existing conditions. Employers won't pay for the health care; their goal is to help employees get access at decent prices. Hewitt Associates has been providing consulting help to the coalition.
 
The second group will work in regions--Detroit, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, New and Los Angeles. The employers will choose a single health plan in the region in order to increase their purchasing clout. In exchange for giving the health plan the contract, says John D. Butler, the top human resources officer at Textron, participating companies "will get detailed quality and efficiency data on local hospitals and physicians."
 
Starbucks, SYSCO, Home Depot and Texas Instruments are among the organizations involved in the HR Policy Association.