Northside Hospital Restricting Health Insurance for Employees' Spouses

Oct 16, 2013

Northside Hospital has three hospital campuses and more than 70 total locations in metro Atlanta.
Credit Northside Hospital

Northside Hospital will stop offering health insurance to employees’ spouses if the spouses can get coverage at their own workplaces.

Northside’s 10,000 employees are in an open enrollment period right now; they will have until November 15 for spouses to get coverage through their own employers.

It’s a move that UPS already made over the summer to cut costs: the same reason Northside states for the change.

Northside declined to provide a representative for an interview with WABE but said in a statement, printed here in its entirety:

“We are not dropping spousal coverage for spouses that need coverage. We are requiring spouses who have access to coverage with their employer to participate in their own company-sponsored insurance plan.  

“Northside Hospital leads the Atlanta metro health care market with the most competitive benefits plans for its employees. We continue to offer high-performing benefits and services, including being one of only a few Atlanta area hospitals that provide its employees with a pension plan.

“A recent survey* on benefit offerings indicates that 68% of respondents will implement a restriction on spousal coverage in 2014. Northside anticipates new enrollees in its benefit plans by employees who previously had been covered under a spouses plan, as a result of similar policy changes being implemented at other employers throughout Metro Atlanta.

“This change allows us to continue to manage our benefit costs while providing competitive benefits to Northside employees.

“*18th Annual Towers Watson/National Business Group Health Employer Survey on Purchasing Value in Health Care”

The study, conducted in late 2012, can be accessed in full on Towers Watson's website. In Figure 22, it indicates 68% will make some kind of change to dependent coverage, but only 12% will fully exclude spouses who can get coverage in their own workplaces.