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Benefits Q. 2011;27(1):42-8.

Here it comes: defined contribution health care.

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Aon Hewitt, Norwalk, CT, USA.


The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act includes provisions to make the individual health insurance marketplace one where all Americans, including those with preexisting health conditions, can obtain affordable coverage. At the same time, the act has failed to address, in any significant way, many of the underlying flaws in the current U.S. health care system that have caused costs to spiral out of control. The combination of persistent U.S. health care cost increases and a viable individual health insurance marketplace will cause a sea change in employer-sponsored health care offerings that is similar to that seen among employer-sponsored retirement benefit plans: movement away from defined benefit approaches and toward defined contribution designs. Although the authors show parallels between the evolution of employers' health care and retirement offerings, they explain why certain key developments will need to occur before defined contribution approaches become as prevalent in employer-sponsored health care plans as they are in today's employer-sponsored retirement plans.

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