Cruz plan would ‘delink’ employers and health coverageNews added by Benefits Pro on February 1, 2016

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By Jack Craver

Ted Cruz is taking a stroll down health insurance memory lane. He’s traveling back to the 1960s, when most employers, if they offered health insurance at all to their employees, usually served up a very basic package that would be called catastrophic coverage today. Others might help employees purchase insurance, perhaps facilitating a group discount. But the idea of an employer paying for comprehensive employee coverage was unheard of in all but a few workplaces.

That’s the working world Ted Cruz envisions. Why, he asks, should employers pay for employee health insurance when it binds employees to that employer and can make it tough to change jobs?

Stumping across Iowa, Cruz has been floating his latest health insurance trial balloon, which has led to the adoption of the term “delinking” — as in, unhooking the health insurance fifth wheel from the employer wagon.

After all, Obamacare has now made it possible for employees to find coverage for about the same price on the exchanges as they pay in their contributions to employer sponsored insurance. Cruz argues that if people can cross state lines to buy insurance, and if health savings accounts become more common, it’s only a matter of time before most employers will be out of the health coverage process.

Companies like California’s Hixme, founded in 2013, are already cropping up to manage the health insurance selection process for workers — essentially eliminating the employer from the equation. In many cases, such service providers will likely be directing employees to what in reality is an individual plan.

While Cruz continues to vow to do away with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, his plan is almost an admission that Obamacare is not going away. His latest insurance strategy represents a more concrete GOP solution to the health care-for-all conundrum, but also a blending of Republican and Democratic thinking on the matter.

Cruz plan has already generated plenty of backlash from liberals. They claim it would actually reduce coverage options for individuals and workers and, with its central objective of eliminating the PPACA, it would kill off the major source of the affordable coverage Cruz says employees can now find on their own. His plan would erase the premium subsidy system as well, making it even more difficult for many working folks to afford true health insurance.

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