Employees Concerned About Impact Of Health Reform

Ninety percent of employers said that they have received questions from employees asking how their benefits will be impacted by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to recent research from the Midwest Business Group on Health (MBGH). The second concern among employees is rising costs—MBGH found that 63 percent of employers have fielded questions about the cost of employee benefits plans.

“Many self-insured employers didn’t think they needed to pay much attention to health insurance exchanges since they offered coverage, but these findings clearly state the need for expanded employee education,” said Larry Boress, MBGH president and CEO. “There are key questions employees have that need to be addressed now, such as the status of their current benefits and their eligibility to obtain tax credits and subsidies through the new marketplaces. Most employer efforts are focused in these areas for the upcoming rollouts this fall.”

The survey also found the following:

1. About 90 percent of self-funded employers indicated that they do not plan to move any of their covered population to either public marketplaces or private exchanges in the immediate future. During this time, employers will review what peer businesses are doing and the success and viability of the exchanges, MBGH noted.

2. Over the next four years, employers indicated that they will offer more high deductible health plans and decrease the number of health maintenance organizations, point of service plans and preferred provider organization options. However, there is uncertainty about the number of employers planning to offer only high deductible health plans.

3. Over 70 percent of employers indicated that they will not increase salaries for employees who obtain insurance coverage from the public marketplaces.

4. Almost 70 percent of employers are developing their own ACA messaging, with few relying solely on their health plan. The types of information being communicated includes: open enrollment options, an overview of the ACA, and its impact on benefit programs.

5. Responding employers have found that employees are most concerned about the impact of the ACA on their benefits (64 percent), if their out of pocket costs will go up (63 percent) and want to know about the exchanges (53 percent).

6. Key areas of focus for employers moving forward in complying with the ACA are: educating employees about ACA (71 percent), benefit design options to reduce exposure to excise tax (59 percent); and incentives for wellness provisions (49 percent).

The survey includes responses from 40 organizations. For more information, visit http://www.mbgh.org.

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