Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) replacement morphed into the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and now the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), access to health care could be changing, and employers are reacting to possible workplace impacts.
In Employer Pulse Check: The Future of ACA, the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans surveyed employers from across the country and found 71% would not like ACA repealed entirely.
If the ACA employer mandate were repealed, 96% of employers surveyed would continue to provide health benefits for workers. Of the organizations stating they would discontinue coverage, 64% said it would be due to the high cost of health care coverage.
There are provisions in the ACA that employers support. Seventy-nine percent support the tax-favored status of employer-provided health coverage for employers; 76% support the tax-favored status of employer-provided health coverage for workers; and 74% support the mental health benefit parity (i.e., the same level of benefits as for other medical conditions).
In addition, 69% support expanded use/flexibility for health savings accounts (HSAs); 67% support the ban on preexisting condition exclusions; and 67% support increased wellness incentives as allowed under ACA.
Provisions of the ACA employers oppose include:
- the Cadillac tax (excise tax on high-cost plans) – 85%;
- premiums based on medical experience (i.e., insurers can charge sicker individuals more) – 65%;
- the increased age-based premium differential between younger and older individuals (e.g., increased from three to five times) – 52%; and
- the limit on health flexible spending (FSA) account salary reductions (i.e., $2,600 in 2017) – 48%.
Shan Fowler, senior director of Product Strategy at Benefitfocus, based in Charleston South Carolina, says while the Senate health care reform bill reduces costs and administrative burdens for employers, provisions affecting individuals and employees could cause a residual negative impact on employers and many have conflicted views about the bill.
Survey responses were received from 727 U.S. members of the International Foundation, representing organizations from fewer than 50 to more than 10,000 employees, and public employer/governmental entities, multiemployer benefit funds and corporation/single employer sectors. For access to the full results, visit www.ifebp.org/futureofaca.