Company: Pelican Wire, Naples
Executive: Ted Bill, president
Number of Employees: 65
Health insurance challenge: Ted Bill had his first taste of the new health care law last year. That's when the government forced insurance companies to spend 80% of premiums on claims or return the unspent money to customers.
When Pelican Wire got a check last year from the insurance company as a return of premium, Bill and his staff spent two weeks with lawyers figuring out how much each employee was owed. “We wound up mailing checks for 30 cents to former employees,” Bill says.
Pelican now has 100% participation in its health plan. For entry-level employees, the company subsidizes 95% of the cost.
But now Bill says Pelican Wire, an employee-owned company, is examining every option including the state insurance exchanges. “When these exchanges get going, it's supposed to drive down the cost,” Bill says. “I'll believe it when I see it.”
Another option Pelican Wire is considering is self-insuring against smaller claims, say up to $5,000, and then purchasing catastrophic insurance for employees in case they become seriously ill. “We take the bet that our team will stay healthy,” he says.