Stone World Blog


Could Health Care Costs Derail a 2011 Construction Comeback?

December 1, 2010
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+


I’ve been feeling pretty good about 2011. There are several signs the economy is rebounding. Many construction-related firms throughout the supply chain have indicated they are gradually climbing out of their respective holes.

Advertising – a decent gauge of how confident business leaders are – has been increasing. And RFPs for the coming year are up compared with this time last year. While business leaders had gloomy view of what 2010 would bring, they feel much better about 2011.

However, in the last few weeks I encountered two incidents of health care cost increases that made me grimace. My employer notified us our plans will change to help absorb 2011 increases for our coverage. Also, I serve on the board of a small non-profit that faces a 50 percent premium hike for each insured family.

As I thought about these increases, I recalled the palatable concern expressed by several contractors during a roundtable discussion back in September. They had received word from their health care providers and accounting advisors to prepare for big increases.

As small- and medium-size business owners, they were dreading the hikes. Some said might be forced to drop or reduce coverage for some employees. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law on March 23, 2010, had become a worrisome reality.

These contractors were successfully navigating the recession by carefully watching every possible expense while pursuing new revenue streams to replace lost business. But the pending health care increases are out of their sphere of control – hence their comments expressing frustration and dread.

Health care costs have been increasing for decades, so the rise in costs cannot be placed entirely on “ObamaCare,” as some call it.

So why are these contractors so worried?

I can think of two reasons. For one, employers are uncomfortable with health care mandates that limit options on what they can provide to employees. Second, there is concern that government intervention will undermine the free market system that creates competition and price sensitivity.

The pending health care law is complex, with various components phasing in through 2018. USA Today provided a year-by-year overview that made my head hurt. And yet, if I owned a business, I’d pour over every word and attempt to make assumptions on how these changes might impact my bottom line.

Adding to people’s frustration is the growing number of waivers granted to various groups. McDonald’s was among the most prominent of 30 companies that got a lot of early attention.

More recently, the New York Times documented waivers for 111 companies and 1.2 million people.

More than anything, I sense the biggest challenge with health care reform is that it adds to the uncertainty construction business owners already feel. If you have successfully shepherded your company through the last two years, you really don’t want to battle a new foe, especially one that has the backing of the federal government.

The waivers, unclear interpretations of the act, and lawsuits filed by several states’ attorneys general promise that health care reform will remain a top issue in 2011.

Stay tuned.
You must login or register in order to post a comment.

onyx

lingyunstone
December 8, 2010
I don't know how to use this website. Who can tell me? many thanks!

e

e
December 8, 2010
e

Business is Improving

Ken Franklin
December 13, 2010
We have seen improvement in the construction and real estate sector. Even our business is showing signs of improvement. We are a Denton based plumbing company.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

November 2013 Stone Products Gallery

Take a look at some of the latest stone industry products.

THE MAGAZINE

Stone World Magazine

April 2014 stone world cover

2014 April

In this month's issue of Stone World, check out an extensive preview of Coverings 2014, which will be celebrating its 25th anniversary in April. Also learn more about various types of limestone that were used to build private residences.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Contemporary Stone & Tile Design Magazine

CSTD_Spring2014_Cover.jpg

2014 Spring

This issue of Contemporary Stone & Tile Design includes our annual focus on Kitchen and Bath design

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Training Program

How formal is your training program for new employees?
View Results Poll Archive

The Stone World Store

How_To_Polish_&_Restore_Mar.gif
How to Polish & Restore Marble Flooring

This video will show you step-by-step how to resurface and polish marble flooring from grinding and removing lippage and scratches to achieving a highly reflective polish.

More Products

Italian Trade Commission Coverings exhibitor preview

Italian Trade Commission logo 2

The Italian Trade Commission is presenting a large group of the most innovative and internationally renowned Italian suppliers of dimensional natural stones. We hope your busy schedule will allow you to join us for a “genuine” espresso in booth N. 4045 and explore the exciting Italian natural stone resources offered by our exhibitors. Check out Italian stone producers exhibiting at Coverings 2014 here!

  

Stone Industry Education

stone industry educationStone Industry Education is sponsored by Stone World Magazine and Marble Institute of America. The SIE events will help you: strengthen your skills, build your business, and  increase profit in your shop.  Check out stoneindustryeducation.com to register for upcoming fabricator and installer seminars.

STAY CONNECTED

facebook logo Twitter  YouTube