Everyone wants to know what employers will do in light of health reform and there are multiple surveys purporting to tell us. The latest comes from the International Federation of Employee Benefit Plans. (IFEBP Survey) The respondents come from over 20 industries and companies ranging from 50 to over 10,000 employees. Over half of the respondents say they have already begun to take actions designed to react to the health reform law. Most organizations think they do not yet fully understand all the ramifications of the law and need to do so before fully designing plans for the new age. Many employers are considering high deductible health plans if they don’t already offer them and many are enhancing their wellness offerings. Some are exploring self-funding for the first time, since self-funded plans will have more regulatory flexibility. Most do not expect grandfathered status, as they feel a need to make changes that will cause the loss of that status. About 16% are already adjusting employee hours so that fewer employees qualify as full-time, which may avoid penalties under the law. About 17% have begun to redesign plans to avoid the impending tax on high-value health plans. This means workers covered by those plans will see a lower level of benefits. Employers feel there is a significant communication challenge associated with changes related to the law and they have stepped up efforts to keep employees informed. About two-thirds of companies have looked at the cost impact of the reform law and believe it will add 3-4% to costs, which is just shocking because the President, a known truth-teller, has assured us that it will reduce costs. A large number of employers plan to pass most or all of the increased costs on to employees, raising deductibles, copays and premium cost-sharing. Almost all employers who currently provide coverage say they are at least very likely to continue to do so.
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About this Blog
The Healthy Skeptic is a website about the health care system, and is written by Kevin Roche, who has many years of experience working in the health industry. Mr. Roche is available to assist health care companies through consulting arrangements through Roche Consulting, LLC and may be reached at [email protected].
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