Employers want small fixes to ACA

According to recent Mercer pulse survey, there is limited support for continued efforts to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The survey of 300 health benefit professionals found that just 35 percent say they favor repeal and replace, with 51 percent opposed and 14 percent expressing no opinion. Employers are, however, interested in numerous other changes, ACA-related and otherwise.

The survey found that 95 percent would favor simplified ACA employer shared responsibility reporting rules. In addition, 92 percent favor permitting higher contributions to health savings accounts (HSAs), and nearly as many (87 percent) would like to allow contributions up to the level of the out-of-pocket maximum. The majority (66 percent) also favors allowing mediations and treatments for chronic conditions to be covered in an HSA-eligible plan before the deductible is met.

Excise tax.

Mercer found that virtually all respondents have already taken action to minimize their exposure to the excise tax on high-cost plans (also known as the Cadillac tax). The most common change was to add a high-deductible health plan (76 percent), and 49 percent said they have taken steps to encourage higher enrollment in the HSA-eligible plans. Forty-three percent have increased employee cost-sharing and 23 percent have eliminated a high-cost plan.

Biggest cost drivers.

Since significant health system reform is not likely to be coming out of Washington anytime soon, employers will continue to do address the cost drivers in their programs on their own, noted Mercer. The survey asked employers what their biggest cost drivers are right now. Specialty pharmacy (86 percent) tops the list, followed by high-cost claims (74 percent), increase in frequency of specific diseases (56 percent), waste in the system (42 percent), ACA mandates (33 percent), and the over-utilization of services by members (19 percent).

SOURCE: www.mercer.com
Visit our News Library to read more news stories.