Benefits Landscape Evolves In Response To ACA

C-suite executives and benefit managers agree that benefit programs have the most impact on improving employee loyalty as well as increasing employee engagement and lowering company medical costs. That’s according to the Employee Benefits Trends Survey conducted by Wells Fargo Insurance.
Wells Fargo Insurance designed the survey to better understand how companies are responding to health care reform requirements while also providing their employees with competitive benefits programs. Surveying C-suite executives and benefit managers from companies across the U.S. with more than 50 employees, the survey generated 950 responses and covered topics including cost containment strategies, employee attraction and retention, outlook on health care reform, and financial impact of employee health.

“As the benefits landscape continues to evolve, employers face challenges and opportunities as they adapt to new requirements,” said Dan Gowen, national practice leader with Wells Fargo Insurance’s Employee Benefits National Practice. “It’s a balancing act for many companies as they look to maximize employee productivity, retention and morale while also controlling cost – a factor we expect to become even more important as companies prepare for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) excise tax in 2018.”

Health plan changes

With 2015 underway, most companies have made key changes to their benefits plans. According to the survey, seven in 10 companies have made or are in the process of implementing changes for covering spouses as well as to increase the percentage that employees must contribute to premiums. Six in 10 have also changed or are in the process of changing options for the type of plan offered. While most employers have not yet made changes such as moving from fully-insured to self-funded or using private exchanges, the survey found that those decisions and offering a high deductible plan are the top initiatives now under consideration.

As companies look ahead, they remain focused on managing costs, wellness offerings and family coverage. With wellness leading the list, C-suite executives and benefit managers will focus on coverage of family members, employee attraction and retention during the next five years, according to the survey.

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