More than 50 Fortune 500 companies will participate in an initiative to negotiate lower-cost health insurance options for their uninsured workers and dependents, estimated at about 4 million people nationwide, the HR Policy Association said. The companies, led by the human resources association, have formed a national purchasing pool to solicit bids from health plans and ultimately select one to offer a range of coverage options with lower rates and more comprehensive benefits than now available to the targeted workers. Those include part-time, temporary and contract workers, independent consultants, and certain early retirees, among others. Hewitt Associates is designing the plan, known as Affordable Healthcare Solutions, under the direction of the association.
In addition, the association said it will establish regional purchasing coalitions in areas where its members employ 5% to 15% of the workforce, such as Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Los Angeles and New York. The regional coalitions will contract with a single health plan to secure better pricing, benefits and quality for participating employers, their insured employees and small businesses. The announcement coincided with the start of national Cover the Uninsured Week. Read the news release or an executive summary of the association's white paper on the program. -- by Tony Fong