Sears and Darden Restaurants are switching from providing their employees with health coverage to giving them money to purchase health insurance themselves from an online exchange, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Both companies are using an exchange organized by Aon Hewitt. Both companies have been self-insured. Neither would say exactly how much money it will give each employee to purchase health insurance, but Darden said employees will pay out of their own pockets about the same amount they do now for about the same level of coverage.
The move resembles the switch from defined-benefit pensions to defined-contribution 401(k) plans. And the companies hope that insurers’ competition on the exchanges to win employees’ business will help drive down the cost of coverage.