by Patrick Appel
A reader writes:
I am an account manager at an insurance brokerage, dealing specifically with group (employer-based) benefits. In response to the Heath Savings Account/Flexible Spending Account reader- unused FSA funds are turned over to the employer. Employers may do whatever they wish with it. Most of our clients turn it into the employer-paid portion of the insurance premium. Some forward-thinking companies are putting that money towards an employee-wellness program. In my opinion, this is the smartest choice, as it is a value-added benefit for employees, positively affects the company's bottom line, and no matter what happens in Washington with healthcare, wellness is important.
This has been an interesting time in our office. I am a Republican, who happily voted for Obama, and have an Obama magnet on my car. I am constantly surrounded with comments on what "my President" did now to screw up our lives. I have explained to my boss that we just have a different paradigm for viewing this issue. He is looking health reform from a business perspective, in insurance. Perfectly understandable, since that what he does for a living. I am looking at it from human rights perspective. My insurance job just pays my bills so I can do what I really love- run a non-profit that provides free arts education camps and workshops to children that have experienced either a natural or a socio-economic disaster. I have the very interesting position of seeing both sides of the healthcare issue intimately. I don't know that there is one right answer. I do know that the issue is more complex than we often see. A little bit of basic "walk a mile in another's shoes" could go a long way.