Ask the Capitalist: Am I Discriminating Against Singles By Paying Full Premiums for Family Coverage?
I’d love to get your thoughts on the notion that it’s an unfair practice for companies to fund more $$$ towards the healthcare coverage costs of employees with families than they pay for the single employees. We all know the costs of insuring a family are at least triple the costs of insuring an individual, so do you buy into this as "singles discrimination" or standard practice (If Company X pays $400/month for an employee and $1,200/month for a family)? I've got my thoughts on the matter, but I think your readers would be interested in a blog post on the topic, should this interest you. Thanks and happy Spring!
Donna in Dallas
Discrimination? No. Unfair? No. Interesting topic? Yes.
It's a market-based issue.
When it comes to the percentages you pay to cover insurance premiums for singles vs. families, I'd cover the topic in the following way: People who are trying to insure their families value insurance more than singles do. While there can be exceptions to that rule, the young immortals who make up most of the single pool don't value insurance as much as people with kids. Therefore, you paying more to insure families is an actual investment that can pay dividends on the recruiting and retention trail toward those who need family coverage.
Now look at the other side. Will it actually help you recruit the young immortals and others who fall in the single coverage bucket by saying, "we're equitable in how we cover single and family coverage"? The answer is no - for the most part, most single coverage individuals aren't going to make a decision to join or stay with your company based on that.
My take - the single coverage folks who are complaining to you about this aren't disadvantaged, they're just chronic complainers. If they leave the company, you'd be better off. I'd redirect them to take full advantage of all the benefits your company offers before they start trying to take things away from others, because if you're an average employer with average benefits, I'll guarantee you that there are things they aren't using. If you're thinking about offering additional benefits to this group due to this issue, I'd make it something like Tuition Aid - something where that group has to actually put forth some effort and investment in themselves rather than just complaining. Lame.
Last note - God help the politician who tries to make family coverage employees potentially pay more in any circumstance due to this angle.
I'd short his stock immediately, because that sucker is going down.