Many Employers Waiting for Full Skinny on HCR before Deciding Benefits Package

February 8, 2011 ( – Fifty-one percent of HR managers in a recent poll said they will keep their employee health coverage offerings.

However, according to an article on the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) Web site about its poll, 48% of respondents indicated they are awaiting regulatory guidance or information on the health care reform law before deciding on their benefits packages.

“This finding indicates that organizations are ready to move forward with implementing specific provisions of the health care reform law. However, they are in a holding pattern until they are able to gain more clarity about which aspects of the law will stick and which might be altered or eliminated,” said Evren Esen, manager of SHRM’s Survey Research Center, according to the news report. “Few organizations believe that the entire law will be repealed, but there is a sense that some aspects of the law are almost certain to change before additional portions of the law are implemented.”

Two-thirds (65%) of the respondents said limits on deductibles in the small group market created no implementation barriers, and 29% reported that they faced no stumbling blocks from the health law’s provision that requires businesses to file 1099 tax forms for transactions of $600 or more.

The poll also found 54% of respondents believe that the cost of providing benefits to adult children (up to the age of 26) of employees is creating implementation problems for their organization, while 34% list the new exclusions for employee out-of-pocket expenses for over-the-counter medications as an implementation barrier.

When asked what resources their organizations are using to prepare for the health care reform changes, the survey found that small organizations are more likely than others to use insurance brokers and resources offered by SHRM. Organizations with more than 2,500 employees said they are more likely to use legal counsel as a resource.

The survey, conducted in late December 2010, found 62% of respondents are comfortable with their knowledge and understanding of the health care reform law, compared to 48% of respondents to a similar poll question in July 2010.