Employers support right to sue

October 1, 2001

Pharmaceutical Representative

A national survey of employers, released jointly by the Menlo Park, CA-based Kaiser Family Foundation and the Washington-based Health Research and Educational Trust, found that smaller employers (three to 199 employees) are significantly more likely than larger employers (200 or more employees) to support a person's right to sue a health plan, and are somewhat more likely to support the right to appeal a health plan's decision to an independent reviewer. Two-thirds (67%) of smaller employers express support for the right to sue a health plan, compared with 28% of larger employers. Eighty-six percent of smaller employers and 74% of larger employers support independent review. However, the survey found that support for both the right to sue and independent review decreases if employers are told that the cost of health insurance might increase as a result.

A national survey of employers, released jointly by the Menlo Park, CA-based Kaiser Family Foundation and the Washington-based Health Research and Educational Trust, found that smaller employers (three to 199 employees) are significantly more likely than larger employers (200 or more employees) to support a person's right to sue a health plan, and are somewhat more likely to support the right to appeal a health plan's decision to an independent reviewer. Two-thirds (67%) of smaller employers express support for the right to sue a health plan, compared with 28% of larger employers. Eighty-six percent of smaller employers and 74% of larger employers support independent review. However, the survey found that support for both the right to sue and independent review decreases if employers are told that the cost of health insurance might increase as a result.

According to the survey, if the ability to have independent review might increase the cost of a family health insurance premium by $1 a month, smaller employer support drops to 72% and larger employer support drops to 60%. If the right to sue might increase the cost of a family health insurance premium by $5 per month, which is approximately the amount estimated by the Congressional Budget Office, smaller employer support drops from 67% to 50%. If the right to sue might add $30 per month to the cost of a family health insurance premium, which is substantially more than the CBO estimate, smaller employer support drops to 36%.

Very small business response

A separate national survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation of very small businesses only – those with three to 24 employees – found that 68% favor a federal law increasing patient protections, including the right to sue health plans, while 24% oppose such a law. Again, support drops when those surveyed are told that such a law would increase the cost of health insurance (48% favor, 40% oppose). If the cost of health insurance were to increase by $200 a year for a typical family policy, 52% of small businesses say they would likely pass some of the cost on to employees, while 36% would absorb the cost and 4% say they would drop coverage entirely. PR

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