June 08, 2011 at 16:09 PM EDT
New Survey Examines Employer Reactions to Health Care Reform One Year Later
BROOKFIELD, Wis., June 8, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In the year since health care reform became law, a new survey finds that employers across the U.S. are maintaining their health care benefits, implementing cost-sharing methods and assessing the long-term impact of reform on their organizations. Health Care Reform: Employer Actions One Year Later, released by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans uncovers actions employers have taken in the last 12 months and explores their plans for the upcoming year. It is the second in a series of surveys on the impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) on single employer plans.
"For the most part, employers have moved beyond the 'wait and see' phase they were in just a year ago and are beginning to take action," explained Sally Natchek, Senior Director, Research at the International Foundation. "Although many employers are concerned about rising costs, very few have drastically altered or ended their health care benefits. Most employers remain committed to offering quality health care benefits to their employees."
Employers Anticipate Rising Costs – Many Plan To Increase Employee Cost-Sharing
To help ease the increased costs brought on by health care reform, 40% of employers are increasing employees' share of premium costs, 29% are raising in-network deductibles and 28% are increasing employees' proportion of dependent coverage cost. Many employers also plan to increase out-of-pocket limits and copayments or coinsurance for primary care (27% and 24% respectively).
Employers Maintain Health Plan Benefits – Extend Dependent Eligibly for Other Benefit Offerings
Additionally, although required only to extend health care benefits to dependents until age 26, 60% of employers are going a step further and changing the eligibility requirements for dependents in other benefit plans (e.g., dental, vision, etc.) to conform to the requirements of their medical plans.
Few Organizations Anticipate Maintaining Their Grandfathered Status
"Maintaining grandfathered status will be very challenging for employers," stated Natchek. "Plans can lose the status in numerous ways including reducing benefits, raising coinsurance or significantly raising copayments or deductibles. To remain grandfathered, an employer will be able to make only limited changes in their health care plan. This does not appear feasible for most organizations."
Wellness and Related Programs on the Rise
High-Deductible Plan Interest Remains among Employers
About The Survey
Survey responses were received from 1,350 individuals including benefits and human resources professionals, general and financial managers, and other professionals. Those asked to participate in the survey were members of the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans and the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (ISCEBS).
Health Care Reform: Employer Actions One Year Later —Survey Results May 2011 is the second in a series of reports on the impact of health care reform legislation on benefit plans. It is available free to International Foundation members. Non-members can purchase the e-book for $50. Visit www.ifebp.org/books.asp?7051E.
The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans is a non-profit organization, dedicated to being a leading objective and independent global source of employee benefits, compensation, and financial literacy education and information. For additional information, visit www.ifebp.org.
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