SURVEY SAYS: Communicating Health Care Changes

May 6, 2013 ( – The health care reform law has led to changes in employers’ benefit offerings, and more changes are coming.

Last week, I asked NewsDash readers, has your company communicated coming health care offering changes to employees?  

One-quarter (25.5%) of responding said their companies have started communicating changes to employees, while 19.1% indicated their firms are waiting for the annual open enrollment period. Seventeen percent each reported their companies have not communicated anything yet, and their firms’ benefit offerings are not changing. Nearly 15% said their organizations’ have not decided about changes to health care offerings yet.  

Around 6% of respondents chose “other.” Those responses indicated some companies plan to start communicating changes between now and open enrollment and some have educated employees about changes already made, but not about changes coming next year.  

In verbatim comments readers expressed frustration with the health care law in general, but many specifically discussed how difficult employee education is with the complexity of new rules and need for more communication guidance. For the Editor’s Choice this week, I couldn’t help but take advantage of the plug. It goes to the reader who said: “If I didn’t read NewsDash, sadly I would have no idea of the pending changes…Thank God I can manage my own accounts.”


We are trying to inform our employees about the increasing coverage mandated and the costs that we are anticipating increasing to cover these additional items and additional insured individuals.  

No matter how well we try to explain all the changes and options from the new health care requirements, it is going to be hard for our workforce to understand. The governmental delays in guidance for the standard format of such communications and info on the exchanges is going to make a difficult task even harder. To explain adequately and prepare to deal with the questions and issues, employer HR staffs need time to prepare too. This should be delayed if the government doesn't already have all the decisions made and ready to give to employers by this point.  

We have already added an HDHP with HSA and communicated that it was in response to the FSA limits. We have also been communicating about the Open Enrollments this fall that will coincide with our regular Open Enrollment.  

We might not have any changes; one can only hope!  

Things are kept close to the vest around here, so even though I work in HR, and in the famous words of Schultz, (from Hogan's Heroes)...I know nothing!  

I believe we were e-mailed a 1-2 page information sheet. That's it.  

Our company has complied with all the required documentation under PPACA. 

This new Health Care Bill is going to cause a lot of problems for Employers and Employees get rid of the bums who are forcing this on us. 

We are interested in communicating about the 2014 changes but are finding that there are very few if any resources at the present time geared to employees.

Verbatim (cont.)  

We're a commercial construction company with many project sites and employees all over the city. It's very difficult to gather all of the people for meetings.  

clear as mud  

Communication isn't the issue so much as it's the actual changes. For example, we used to have a choice between deductible/no deductible. Obviously the premium was higher for no deductable. There is no choice. We now apparently must have a deductible. That means I'm forced to pay lots out of my pocket at the beginning of the year, rather than being able to spread it over the year in premium payments. How in the world is that making health insurance more affordable? Your government dollars at work.  

If I didn't read NewsDash, sadly I would have no idea of the pending changes...Thank God I can manage my own accounts.  

If you think health care is expensive now, wait until it's free!  

Educate them about what? The State we do business in has chosen not to offer an exchange. Has the Federal Government outlined their health insurance exchange yet?  

Up till now (or recently), it’s all been about the new benefits; adult dependent mandate (talk about your oxymorons), coverage of pre-existing conditions, "free" contraception coverage. Well, that "free" lunch that everybody likes so much in the polling is coming to an end. Forget about the $1 trillion this will cost American taxpayers over the next decade, your healthcare costs are getting ready to rise steeply, and your services likely to diminish (though perhaps more gradually). Then we'll see how much everyone "likes" the new health care law. "If you like the healthcare you have, you can keep it", my eye!  


NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not the stance of Asset International or its affiliates.