Forbes magazine in its Sept. 15 issue describes an interesting new trend among large employers: auditing employees and their dependents who are enjoying health benefits through the company.
Employers are looking for people who are claiming benefits to which they may not be entitled. General Motors said by the end of the year, some 12,000 people could be dropped from its health plan, saving the company around $100 million a year. Forbes writes:
It’s hardball time. Checking health plan eligibility is a good way to pinch pennies, since the stakes are large. Often employers find themselves footing health care costs for employees’ ex-spouses and adult children who aren’t in school.
The story notes AT&T also will save $40 million this year by dropping 10,000 people who don’t qualify for the coverage they’ve been receiving. Chrysler saved an estimated $50 million in paid benefits from employees who defrauded its health care plan in recent years. And America Airlines finished an audit in 2006 that resulted in almost 10,000 ineligible people losing their coverage.
A sound business move or does this prying do more damage than it’s worth? A tough one: Millions in savings vs. disgruntled employees.