HR Execs Worrying about HCR Coverage Cost Hikes

January 12, 2011 ( – The biggest worry about health-care reform among HR professionals is increased cost of coverage, according to a new poll.

A news release from Boston-based HighRoads about its survey said 50% of respondents cited coverage cost hikes when asked for their biggest HCR concern.

Other HR worries about HCR included:

  • Cancellation of benefits: 13%
  • Government taxation of medical benefits: 13%
  • Ability to add adult dependents: 12%

While 88% of employers reported they had increased their employee communications to address health care reform, many are still worried that the communications might not have been enough, the news release said.

The biggest communications concerns employers have around health care reform for the coming year include:

  • Lack of federal guidance on what the requirements are or how any changes in guidance during the year might change what has been communicated to employees (25%);
  • The disconnect on cost and existing plans, since the bill was sold on being cost neutral to taxpayers and the assurance that employee would not lose the coverage they currently have (13%);
  • Making sure employees are told everything that is changing under their plans (13%); and
  • Employee understanding of changes and how the changes affect them (12%).

“There appears to be a healthy skepticism on the employer’s part about the content and timing of guidance from the federal government on how to administer and communicate future plan changes,” said Kim Buckey, practice lead, SPD Services, HighRoads, in the news release. “There is clearly an opportunity to do some follow up communications—based on the actual employee elections during open enrollment—or employee sensing (surveys or focus groups) mid-year to determine whether employees truly understood the impact of the year’s plan changes.”

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