Sacramento County Ends Subsidy Program for Health Care Benefits
Small business owners in Sacramento County are weighing whether to continue providing health benefits to workers after a county program that subsidized the coverage ended on Nov. 30, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
The program, known as SacAdvantage, paid 40% to 65% of the total monthly premium for eligible workers. Employers paid at least 50% of the remaining premium, and workers paid the remainder.
The county allocated $2 million in tobacco settlement money to fund a pilot for the program in hopes of generating community support to fund its continuing operations and encourage employers of low-wage workers to offer health care benefits.
Premium costs for the program are about $2 million annually, with the county paying about half.Â The program's trust fund is nearly exhausted, and supporters say they cannot afford to finance the effort.
Since the program ended:
- 24 employers that participated in SacAdvantage have terminated benefits;
- 54 employers began offering non-subsidized plans; and
- 78 firms have not decided whether they will continue offering benefits.
Western Health Advantage, the health plan that administered the benefits, has agreed not to increase premiums for participating employers for two years and to provide the firms preferential rates (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 12/8).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.