How Employers Are Reacting to the PPACA

October 7, 2013 ( – Few employers are making plan sponsorship or work force changes in anticipation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), according to a recent survey.

The Compensation Planning for 2014 Survey, produced by Buck Consultants’ Knowledge Resources group, found that only 8% of respondents have capped the work hours of part-time employees, with an additional 12% considering taking this action. Eight percent of employers are encouraging employees to obtain health care benefits from another source, and 9% are considering such an approach.

“Even though this survey indicates a lack of action by employers, we know that they are actively engaged in planning their health care strategy, while carefully watching the evolving public marketplace,” said Tami Simon, managing director of Buck’s Knowledge Resource Center.

She said the one-year deferral of the employer shared responsibility mandate gives employers extra time to examine their current health insurance programs. Employers can not only make necessary changes to meet the upcoming requirements of the law but also accurately reflect their employee benefit goals.

This examination goes beyond health care, said Simon, because it impacts employees’ total compensation. “It’s about finding the right balance for the particular organization and its work force,” she said.

Dave Van De Voort, principal at Buck Consultants, told PLANSPONSOR that, while the PPACA has given employers more options from a health care standpoint, it has also given employers more challenges for how to compete for talent.

“The word ‘affordable’ in the ACA doesn’t refer just to what people can afford but also what companies can afford. The ACA is causing employers to intensely reconsider what mix of cash compensation and employee health benefits will attract and retain talent effectively and affordably,” said Van De Voort.

The survey analyzed responses from more than 320 organizations to determine trends in compensation and other work force issues. Information about how to purchase survey results can be found here.