Worker health coverage to continue at Minnesota's top employers

Despite looming changes to the nation's health care system, many of the state's top employers say they will continue offering coverage to their workers.

That's the headline from a recent survey of 22 Minnesota businesses conducted by the Minnesota Health Action Group.

While those companies say they'll continue to offer coverage, employers will tweak plan eligibility, limit cost-sharing and slim down their provider networks to keep health insurance expenses at bay, said Carolyn Pare, the group's executive director.

Those strategies are likely to be a trend because employers are trying to avoid a 2018 tax on rich benefits that's part of the federal health care overhaul, said Pare, whose group includes 3M, Best Buy and Target.

"Right now, people are trying to really manage and understand their expenses and then adjust their programs in such a way that they aren't going to trigger that threshold," she said.

Wellness programs that give employees financial perks to stay fit and healthy are also becoming more popular among Minnesota's leading businesses.

That's partly because the federal health care law includes new incentives for employers to sponsor these programs, said Pare.

But do they actually cut down on how much companies spend on employee care?

"The jury is still out on that," Pare said.

Gain a Better Understanding of Today

MPR News is not just a listener supported source of information, it's a resource where listeners are supported. We take you beyond the headlines to the world we share in Minnesota. Become a sustainer today to fuel MPR News all year long.