Jack in the Box’s Health Insurance Plan Examined
The San Diego Union-Tribune on Thursday looked at San Diego-based restaurant chain Jack in the Box's recent efforts to provide health coverage to hourly workers, a decision that is "unusual because it is available to everyone, offers a variety of options and is partially employer-paid." Company officials said that they hope the plan, which is operated by United HealthCare and available to 33,000 employees, will reduce employee turnover, training costs and workers' compensation claims (Skidmore, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12/16).
Jack in the Box will pay part of the premiums for part- and full-time employees who have worked at company-owned restaurants for at least one year. Health coverage will be offered to employees who have worked at company-owned restaurants for less than a year, but the company will not contribute to their premiums.
Jack in the Box will offer employees a basic plan with no copayments or deductibles that includes annual maximum limits of $300 for preventive care, specialist visits and emergency medical services for each individual covered. After the caps are met, members can receive treatment at discounted prices.
In addition, the company will offer two health plans with expanded benefits, including limited coverage for prescription drugs, outpatient surgery and inpatient hospital visits. The plans will have higher premiums (California Healthline, 11/22).
Premiums range from $10 to $17.50 a week (San Diego Union-Tribune, 12/16).
For an additional fee, employees can receive dental and vision benefits under all three plans (California Healthline, 11/22).
According to the Union-Tribune, the program "favors preventive care," although it also offers employees discounts on prescription drugs, outpatient surgery and hospital stays (San Diego Union-Tribune, 12/16).
The plan, which is available for individuals and families, took effect Dec. 1. Company spokesperson Brian Luscomb said that as many as 10% of Jack in the Box employees who currently are uninsured can enroll in the plan (California Healthline, 11/22).
So far, more than 8% of eligible employees have signed up for the plan (San Diego Union-Tribune, 12/16).
Ron Mason of Towers Perrin said that other employers have offered similar benefits "in order to lower high turnover" but added that Jack in the Box's approach is different because it includes a variety of plans.
Raul Duarte, division vice president of compensation and benefits for Jack in the Box, said, "Competitively speaking, we have just put ourselves in with companies that perform very well." He added, "No major (insurance) provider ... has dared put together a program like this."
Bob Belko, senior consultant in the health care and group benefits practice at consulting firm Watson Wyatt, said, "Something is better than nothing. What the value of that is, I can't say until a year out when consumers have tried and found out if it met their need and value expectations" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 12/16).