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GETTING PREPARED FOR REFORM: WHAT EMPLOYERS CAN DO NOW

 DETROIT, Oct. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Many businesses are halting plans to change or update their health care policies until after a national health care program is enacted. However, this may not be the right approach, considering that it may take several years for a national program to be passed and instituted. For most companies, it may be more beneficial to begin updating their policies now, according to Jane Marzelli Smith, partner in charge of the Michigan Actuarial, Benefits and Compensation Consulting Practice at Deloitte & Touche.
 "By moving ahead with their own health care reform initiatives, companies can contain costs and get employees accustomed to more managed care packages," said Smith. "In addition, successful programs may well be left alone by national health care reform."
 The following are just a few of the steps employers should consider taking:
 -- Re-work flex benefit plans. Implement more managed care options and prepare employees for managed competition by redesigning the current flex plan to favor the lowest managed health care selection.
 -- Compute the additional cost of covering part-time employees. Assess the value of part-time vs. full-time employees; consider other options to manage overall cost of a plan for part-time staff, including 24-hour coverage; and evaluate outsourcing non-essential functions.
 -- Evaluate the impact (favorable or unfavorable) of individual state reform programs on a multi-state work force. Some employers may want to join certain state-sponsored programs.
 -- Investigate supplemental coverage options to maintain coverage above the standard benefit packages.
 -- Estimate the cost of providing new health care benefits to employees and develop strategies for managing costs through human resource planning.
 "A final and important step in modifying health care benefits packages is to keep the lines of communication open with employees," added Smith. "While the process of a company enacting its own health care reform may not be easy, it will have greater acceptance if employees feel involved in the process and receive clear, timely information about benefits changes and why these changes are being made."
 -0- 10/12/93
 /CONTACT: Melanie de Vries of Anthony M. Franco, Inc., 313-567-5047, for Deloitte & Touche/


CO: Deloitte & Touche ST: Michigan IN: HEA SU:

KE -- DE008 -- 1018 10/12/93 10:59 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 12, 1993
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