Jun 14, 2019

HHS gives employers new insurance flexibility

HHS Secretary Alex Azar. Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Employers will soon be allowed to use pre-tax dollars to subsidize their employees' individual market coverage, the Trump administration announced Thursday.

What it means: This policy is probably good for employers and bad for taxpayers, according to a Brookings analysis of an earlier draft of the proposal.

  • The policy doesn't ban employers from offloading their sickest workers, though it tries to limit that practice.
  • If businesses do shift the workers with the highest medical bills away from the company-sponsored health plan, that plan's premiums would go down. But the influx of sicker patients into the individual market would drive those premiums up.

The other side: The administration, on the other hand, argues that the rule will enhance competition in the individual market.

The bottom line: The rule also allows employers to contribute to their employees' purchase of short-term plans. These plans appeal to younger, healthier people, which means that older, sicker workers could end up paying higher premiums, according to Brookings.

Go deeper: Not everyone likes their employer health coverage

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The megatrends that will shape the 21st century

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

An enormous amount of change has been crammed into the first two decades of the 21st century — but what’s coming next will break every speed record.

The big picture: The world is being buffeted by rapid yet uneven advances in technology that will revamp work and what it means to be human. At the same time, fundamental demographic changes will alter democracies and autocracies alike while the effects of climate change accumulate, physically redrawing our globe.

Trump gets "woke" in 15-city campaign to court black voters

The Trump campaign is leaning into its effort to woo African American voters, opening "Black Voices for Trump" offices across six swing states, the campaign says.

Why it matters: "Woke" stickers, "Black Voices for Trump" T-shirts and other branded swag are part of this storefront approach as the campaign ramps up its efforts to erode Democrats' lock on this key demographic.

House passes bill to make lynching a federal hate crime

Photo: Aaron P. Bauer-Griffin/GC Images via Getty Images

The House voted 410-4 on Wednesday to pass legislation to designate lynching as a federal hate crime.

Why it matters: Congress has tried and failed for over 100 years to pass measures to make lynching a federal crime.