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Employers Look For Ways to Cut Rising Health Care Costs

Employers Look For Ways to Cut Rising Health Care Costs

It is no secret that Florida employers, in particular, will be confronted with increased cost to sponsor health insurance for their employees.  Although the Affordable Care Act mandated coverage has been delayed, employers that already provide coverage are watching the numbers rise.  For several years now, some Florida municipalities have confronted the problem by excluding tobacco users from their applicant pools.  The City of Hollywood, for example, has applicants attest that they have not used tobacco for a year prior to their application and that, if they are found to be using tobacco, their employment can end.

This past week, some city commissioners for the City of Tallahassee also considered this approach.  Tallahassee City Commissioner Scott Maddox explained, in a recent press interview, that the City should not have to bear the cost of poor choices made by some applicants.  A text and audio file of the news cast can be found here:

Over the course of the next few weeks, the City’s finance department will be called upon to estimate the cost savings that could be realized if tobacco users were not hired.  If passed, the prohibition would not affect current employees, according to Commissioner Maddox.  Nonetheless, one should note the fact that municipalities, as governments, are making choices about applicants as a result of off-the-job behavior.  That issue will no doubt continue to receive attention as different employers, including the government, confront the rising cost of health care.