Six Large Companies Offer Part-Time Employees Health Insurance Through New Program
Six large companies have begun to enroll part-time workers in a new national program that offers low-cost, limited health benefits, the New York Times reports. Employees at IBM, Sears, General Electric, Avon Products, Federal-Mogul and the computer-storage company EMC can receive health coverage through the HR Policy Association, a not-for-profit organization of senior personnel executives that aims to address the increase of uninsured U.S. residents.
Participants in the program will pay premiums, which employers will not subsidize, the Times reports. Employers have said they hope to keep insurance premiums lower for enrollees by pooling large numbers of people and spreading the risks and attracting healthy participants. In addition, members of employee groups typically pay lower premiums than individuals with preconditions, the Times reports.
Through UnitedHealth Group, the program will offer participants a discount card for prescription drugs and medical and dental checkups for a monthly cost of $6.99, as well as a 24-hour advice center run by nurses. UnitedHealth also will offer four levels of limited coverage nationwide with monthly premiums ranging from $59 to $149, based on the enrollee's age, sex and location, as well as high-deductible policies that cover medical costs in 15 states.
Humana will offer similar high-deductible policies in 17 states, and Cigna will offer them in Arizona. Part-time workers at six additional large companies will be able to enroll in the program in the next few weeks, and five other firms will join in early 2006, according to association President Jeff McGuiness (Freudenheim, New York Times, 10/4).