Employers to Stay the Course with Health Benefits

December 4, 2012 (PLANSPONSOR.com) Employers say it will be business as usual in their approaches to health benefits as they plan for new developments due to the Affordable Care Act.

According to a survey of employers around the country by the nonprofit Midwest Business Group on Health, in collaboration with The Benfield Group, only 9% of employers indicated they plan to participate in state health insurance exchanges when they begin in 2014 to 2016. While there is interest in private health insurance exchanges, at this time only 4% believe they will use these for active employee coverage in 2014, while 11% indicated they will move toward private exchanges for post-65 retirees.   

For the next few years, there is little indication that employers plan to drop health care coverage and provide employees a set amount to buy health care coverage elsewhere. Fifty-seven percent of responding employers currently offer consumer-directed health plans—such as health savings accounts and health reimbursement accountsas a plan option, and the survey indicated this would increase to 62% in 2013 and 71% through 2018.  

In preparation for the 2018 40% excise tax on high-cost “Cadillac” plans, 31% of employers indicated they plan to reduce their benefits in 2014 to 2016, with 41% responding they will do so for 2017 to 2018.