Employers Still in Wait-and-See Mode on Health Care Reform

October 19, 2010 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – Seventy-seven percent of those in a recent health care reform poll reported that managing overall benefit costs is their top priority, while 64% are most interested in offering competitive benefits.

A news release from the San Mateo, California-based EPIC (Edgewood Partners Insurance Center), an insurance broker and consultant, said 43% of those surveyed also reveal they are concerned with the quality of care their employees get as a result of health care reform.

According to the news release, overall respondents reported they were still evaluating their options and trying to analyze reform legislation with many benefit program decisions remaining to be made.  In fact, EPIC’s survey reveals that 71% of respondents do not currently have a strategy for addressing the long-term effects of health care reform while many employers are still undecided on their approach to plan funding, wellness, employee communications, workplace benefits and other benefit program decisions.

“The fundamental business goals haven’t changed. Employers want affordable, competitive health coverage to attract and keep top talent,” notes Dana Liedel, EPIC’s Employee Benefits Managing Principal, based in San Francisco, in the news release. “As rate increases have come in, employers may be focused solely on keeping them in check while other required actions or even strategic actions get overlooked. Employers need help figuring out what strategy makes the most sense for them — given their unique plans.”

Twenty-two percent of respondents indicated they are planning to implement a new wellness program in light of health care reform. While the marketplace holds an ever increasing focus on managing health care costs through a variety of wellness initiatives, a significant number of mid-sized firms (40%) have no plans to engage, according to the poll.

More information is at http://www.edgewoodins.com/news/2010HCRsurveyrequest.html.