Business group says health care costs becoming prohibitive

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(Host) A Vermont business group says a survey of its members shows an increasing number are cutting health benefits to their employees, or making workers pay more of the costs.

Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility says the results indicate businesses aren’t maintaining the level and quality of health care coverage they’ve provided in the past. That’s because of annual double digit increases in the cost of premiums.

Will Patton is VBSR’s executive director.  Patton says despite the state’s new Catamount Health, which is designed to cover uninsured Vermonters, the burden on businesses will continue to increase. 

He says that’s because private employers are subsidizing the current system by paying premiums designed to cover the costs of the uninsured and underinsured.

(Patton) "The VBSR members that are paying $10,000 per person, or anywhere from ten to twenty percent of their payroll on health insurance, are subsidizing the companies that don’t offer insurance and the public providers like Medicare and even Catamount that don’t fully reimburse the providers for the cost of that care.”

(Zind) Patton says eventually businesses won’t be able to provide health care coverage to their employees.

He says the answer is a single health care plan that insures everyone in Vermont, with everyone, including businesses, sharing the cost. 

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