Providers absorb hikes in premiums

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

As health insurance costs continue to skyrocket, HME providers are finding themselves weighing rising premiums for themselves against high-deductible healthcare plans for their employees.
“We just renewed our plan and we had a slight increase in premiums, but no change in benefits,” said Wayne Slavitt, founder and CEO of Mobül in Long Beach, Calif.
Dan Afrasiabi, president of Anchorage, Alaska-based Geneva Woods, was facing a $600,000 increase in premium payments in 2017. Instead, the company switched to lower premiums with higher deductibles. It also implemented health savings accounts, partially matching contributions, to limit employee out-of-pocket costs.
“It’s a hybrid form of insurance,” said Afrasiabi. “The money they put into the account for themselves effectively becomes their co-pay.”
To continue providing insurance, Julia Humphrey says providers need to constantly look at and adjust overhead and fixed costs.
“I firmly believe that you need to take care of the employees who take care of you,” said Humphrey, operations manager at Accellence Home Medical in Reno, Nev., which has changed plans three times since she started working for the company in 2011.
Maurie Lecker, co-owner of Medical Homecare Supply in West Palm Beach, Fla., takes it one step further.
“It’s like a family here,” he said. “Whatever it is, it is. We don’t change the coverage and we don’t make the employees pay more.”