A private healthcare exchange, SPI HealthLink, has been introduced by SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association for the exclusive use of its members. The initiative is designed to address a persistent request from the association's membership to do something about constantly rising healthcare costs. "We have been hearing it for at least a decade," SPI's Fred Daniell told PlasticsToday, "but there was nothing we could do from our vantage point. That has changed with Obamacare." Daniell is President of Kureha America, a supplier of advanced materials, specialty chemicals and specialty plastics, and is chairman of the 2014 SPI board of directors.
"Personally, there is a lot I don't like about Obamacare," says Daniell, "but there are some things I do like, and exchanges are one of them. SPI HealthLink presents an opportunity for companies and the industry to come together to make healthcare affordable," he says. It will allow employers to take a step back from being health insurance administrators and focus on what they do best—advancing the plastics industry, adds Mark Orzechowski from Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., which administers SPI HealthLink.
Healthcare coverage under SPI HealthLink is a defined contribution plan—think 401(k)—rather than a defined benefit. This is advantageous to companies, as it provides full transparency into healthcare costs, enables employers to set long-term benefits based on predictable forecasts, and ultimately reduces their exposure to healthcare costs. Daniell argues that it also benefits employees.