AS GOVERNOR-ELECT Deval Patrick and his new team contemplate a legislative strategy, reducing the cost of private health insurance for Massachusetts's employers and employees should be high on the list of priorities. Comprehensive family coverage in this state often exceeds $12,000 per year. For a firm with an average annual salary of $40,000, such a premium equals more than 20 percent of total compensation.
Of even more concern is that health insurance premiums are growing four to five times faster than wages. This trend has forced some employers to eliminate their health insurance coverage altogether, leading to a decline in the percentage of workers covered by employer-sponsored health insurance.
Having government pay a portion of the expense of high-cost patients will lower private health insurance premiums and spread the cost of paying for these patients among all taxpayers in the state - thereby taking the burden off an individual company or group of workers. No longer will an employer or insurer have a financial incentive to avoid employing or insuring a potentially high-cost worker or family.