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November 25th, 2009
09:09 AM ET

Hotel mogul starts own health care system

By Laura Dolan

As the Senate gets ready to resume debate on a sweeping health care reform bill, many critics complain the bill lacks any serious cost cutting measures.

We found one business owner in Florida who decided to do it himself. His name is Harry Rosen.

Fed up with rising costs, this owner of seven hotels in Orlando ditched conventional health insurance eighteen years ago and created his own health care plan for everyone who works for him. Now, his staff of 28 cares for over 4,000 patients, including the families of his employees.

He says he covers his employees for less than half of what most employers pay to provide insurance. But there’s a catch.

“If you smoke Jim, you can’t work for me.”

You must do it the “Rosen” way, which means employees must use the clinic and follow doctor’s orders, especially if they have a chronic condition like diabetes. If they don’t comply, its three strikes and you’re out.

Though the primary care is restrictive, Rosen contracts without specialists and area hospitals for those who need it. There are critics who see conflicts of interest, including Jeffrey Bloom, a trial attorney in New York who specializes in medical mistakes. His concern is privacy.

“Why is an employee going to feel comfortable telling a doctor the most intimate details of their personal life, their family’s life,” says Bloom. “And if you're the employer, where is the protection that the doctor isn't going to share with the employer, 'Gee, this person has a medical problem you need to be aware of.'"

“There is a bit of big brother looking over to make sure that you’re following the regimen,” Rosen added.

Rosen is more concerned with Congress than his critics. Under the current bills before Congress, he says he would save money by shutting down his clinic because the penalties in place are a fraction of his current costs. He’d like a waiver of some sort so he can keep his plan going.

Filed under: Health • Politics
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Anon

    Rosen Hotels has a "non smoker" policy for their employees. However, they conveniently pick and chose who they keep and who they fire based on this employment criteria. I know many smokers (and I can name them) who work at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando on International Drive. They are Managers and on any given day you will find them smoking cigarettes during break times and they have kept their jobs. I have reported 6 of them via email to our HR dept and received confirmation that my email had been received but to this day, those same managers are still employed and nothing has been done about them losing their jobs for being smokers. Not so however for 20 regular employees who were let go for being smokers after they were randomly tested for tobacco and failed. So why not the Managers? I am a former smoker who was told via company policy that I had to quit smoking in order to keep my job and did what Rosen required me to do. So why not the Managers? While I was a smoker, I often took smoke breaks with other employees and managers so I know out of the group I smoked with who quit smoking and who did not. Not only that, but Rosen Hotels does not update their employee records as the Federal law requires them to do. They are violating Immigration laws by allowing foreign nationals continued employment when those employee's work visa's have expired and there is no legal basis for them to be employed by Rosen or any other company or permitted to remain living in the USA. Rosen Hotels needs to be sued for unfair discriminatory employment practices and investigated by ICE for their continued practices of employing illegal aliens whose visa's have expired with no legal right to work in the USA but who Rosen Hotels employs all the same.

    January 30, 2010 at 1:13 pm |
  2. Meggs

    Anyone who thinks Harris Rosen is an idiot clearly has not done his homework. He realized that our country's health care system was flawed 18 years ago and DID something about it. A wise government would give this guy a closer look and consider encouraging his system nationally before implementing a new system that would sink America deeper in debt while sacrificing accessibility.

    November 27, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  3. Jim Trice

    Is it really legal to discriminate against a smoker if they don't smoke at work? Where's the ACLU on this one?

    November 25, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  4. Bravo Kilo

    This man is an idiot. The "public plan" he fears so much probably won't even be a part of the final bill anyway. If it is, there's no reason to think his employees would be kicked off his clinic and shoved into a publicly funded insurance plan. Furthermore, the "penalties" he speaks of are being put in the bill to penalize an employer who doesn't offer any coverage or subsidized insurance. This would not apply to him.

    CNN: vet your stories, please. There was no disclaimer of this nature after the story. I feel like I'm watching FOX.

    November 25, 2009 at 10:39 am |
  5. mike-sey

    Its a right but he worries about a public option, says Mr. Rosen. All fine and good for his employees as long as they use his doctors, follow his regimen and don't get downsized, fired, retired, otherwise let go or he or his heirs change their minds.

    So much for the shiboleth of Freedom of Choice and cost that he and his GOP whine about.

    I doubt anyone is going to force him to give up his plan although he may choose to especially if the option is cheaper (since it was the private insurance cost of the status quo that brought out his better side in the first place) or he may choose to offer a supplementary health benefit to any public option. But at least his employees will be less reliant on the mogul's whims if they are forced to move on, get too sick or are otherwise subject to the fickle winds of change.

    November 25, 2009 at 10:31 am |