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Big banking business follows nonprofit, government lead on health

Earlier this month, Bank of America garnered a headline in the Charlotte Observer for a “new way” the bank was paying for health benefits. To its credit, BofA was adopting a policy where people at the bank making over $100,000 in salary would pay a little more for benefits and folks making under $100,000 would pay a little less.

Not a bad idea to help the bank tellers out by charging the executives a little more, but not exactly new either. Last week I wrote about the new health law and how nonprofit Piedmont Health Services, a community health center system in central NC with over 200 employees, is gearing up with new funding to provide more primary health care to the newly insured. It also happens that Piedmont has had a sliding scale of health insurance premiums for its employees for nearly two decades. There aren’t many banking executive-type salaries at Piedmont, but they’ve arranged their health insurance plan this way for years out of respect for all their employees and the desire to retain quality people to deliver the best service to patients.

Glad to see Bank of America is following in nonprofit Piedmont’s footsteps.

The other part of the BofA article that caught my eye was tucked in, way at the bottom:

Starting in 2011, Bank of America will assume the full cost of preventive care, including co-payments. Preventive care includes annual wellness screenings, mammograms, prostate exams, well-child visits and routine immunizations.

Funny, but that’s exactly what the new health care law just did in Medicare too. Preventive care is now covered at full cost there along with an annual check-up.

So, when a nonprofit or government organization takes steps to make our health system better, that’s either just a bunch of do-gooders who don’t really understand business or a horrible “government intrusion” into health care. But when a big bank does exactly the same things, it’s great news, a pat on the back, and a nice headline.

Funny how that works!

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