Will Employers Undermine Health Care Reform by Dumping Sick Employees?

Source: Amy Monahan, Daniel Schwarcz, Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-37, July 30, 2010

From the abstract:
This Essay argues that federal health care reform may induce employers to redesign their health plans to encourage employees who are likely to consume a greater-than-average amount of medical services to opt out of employer-provided coverage and instead acquire coverage on the individual market. Although largely overlooked in public policy debates, this prospect of employer dumping of high-risk employees raises serious concerns about the sustainability of health care reform more generally. In particular, it threatens the viability of individual markets and insurance exchanges by raising the prospect of adverse selection in these markets caused by the entrance of a disproportionately high-risk segment of the population. This risk, in turn, simultaneously threatens to increase the cost to the federal government of subsidizing coverage for qualified individuals and to exempt more individuals from complying with the so-called “individual mandate.” The Essay offers several legislative solutions to the prospect of high-risk employee dumping that can substantially mitigate these risks.

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