Confidence In Continuance Of Employer-Sponsored Health Care Grows: IFEBP

Confidence in the continuance of employer-sponsored health care has grown, with 69 percent of employers stating that they will definitely continue to provide it when health exchanges come online in 2014, according to preliminary results from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP). The report, 2013 Employer-Sponsored Health Care: ACA’s Impact, noted that this represents a 23 point increase from 2012 where only 46 percent reported being certain that they would continue employer-sponsored health care. In addition, in 2013, another 25 percent of employers stated they are very likely to continue employer-sponsored health care.

2013 brings expectations of higher costs. Estimates of cost increases directly associated with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) have increased from 2012 to 2013, according to IFEBP. Employers with 50 or fewer employees reported the largest anticipated cost increase. Conversely, larger employers are the least likely to see significant cost increases.

The survey found that there was a significant increase in the number of respondents who expected a substantial rise in costs of 10 percent or more—16.8 percent in 2013 (up from 8.4 percent in 2012). However, most employers expect more moderate increases this year: 24.6 percent of employers expect increases of 1 percent to 2 percent. Slightly less than 14 percent expected no change in cost, and just 0.7 percent expected costs to decrease in 2013.

Final ACA implementation nears. With implementation only months away, the majority of employers (90 percent) have moved beyond a “wait and see” mode, according to the IFEBP. Organizations maintaining a “wait-and-see” mode decreased from 31 percent in 2012 to less than 10 percent in 2013. In addition, more than half are developing tactics to deal with the implications of the ACA. Smaller employers are making more employment-based decisions with hiring, firing, and reallocating hours than larger employers. Smaller employers also said that they are more likely to drop coverage due to the ACA.

Since the IFEBP’s first survey on the ACA in 2010, employers have most commonly said keeping compliant was their top focus. In 2013, for the first time, employers are more likely to say their top focus is developing tactics to deal with implications of the law.

The survey contains responses from 950 employers. Final results of the survey will be released in May 2013. For more information, visit http://www.ifebp.org/Resources/Research.

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