Wellness tops ACA compliance as companies’ top priority

Despite 2016 being the first year of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting and IRS audits, only 58 percent of small-middle market employers ranked ACA compliance as a top priority, according to recent research from Hub International. ACA compliance ranked third behind employee wellness and productivity improvements (83 percent), and cost management (76 percent).

The study, Employee Benefits Barometer: SMB Perspectives and Priorities in an Era of Disruption, contains responses from more than 400 companies with 50 to 1,000 employees. The survey found the following:

• While ACA compliance was not the top priority, 64 percent of respondents said they would struggle to stay in business as a result of ACA compliance, with 57 percent concerned about the burden of calculating affordability and 45 percent concerned about calculating full-time employees and equivalents.

• Sixty-six percent report experiencing return-on-investment on their health and performance initiatives, with 35 percent reporting improved productivity and 34 percent citing improved morale. However, key benchmarks for these initiatives which include employee turnover (21 percent), absenteeism (18 percent), and chronic disease management (16 percent) are lagging.

• The majority (65 percent) believe they are doing all they can to rein in rising benefits costs, but many are missing opportunities to leverage other proven cost management strategies. For example, only 51 percent use voluntary benefits, 31 percent use a pharmacy carve out, 18 percent self-fund, and 16 percent utilize narrow network strategies to manage costs.

Mike Barone, president of Hub International’s Employee Benefits noted, “HR and finance leaders are operating in an era of unprecedented disruption—brought on by ACA compliance, rising health care costs and the increasing demands of a multi-generational workforce. Taking a long-term, strategic approach to employee benefits is key to achieving cost management, compliance and employee productivity goals.”

SOURCE: Hub International press release, July 19, 2016.

Visit our News Library to read more news stories.