May 16, 2013
Survey Finds Confidence in Employer-Sponsored Health Care - but With Changes
Employees can expect changes to health care benefits as a result of the Affordable Care Act
Brookfield, WI May 16, 2013 — A new survey from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans found that employers’ confidence in their sponsored health care plans increased year-to-year, but many are planning to modify their plans due to effects from implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Additionally, the survey revealed that the vast majority of employers (90 percent) have moved beyond a “wait and see mode” and are actively developing tactics and taking steps to deal with new rules and regulations stemming from the new health care reform law.
The survey, 2013 Employer-Sponsored Health Care: ACA’s Impact conducted by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, shows 69 percent of employers stated they will definitely continue to provide employer-sponsored health care when health exchanges come online in 2014 – a 23 point increase from 2012 (46 percent). Another quarter of respondents (25 percent) stated they are very likely to continue their employer-sponsored health care offering.
However, findings revealed that many employers are making changes to their current benefit plans that directly affect employees and plan participants as a direct or indirect result of current and upcoming ACA regulations. Nearly one in five (18 percent) employers has already increased participants’ share of plan premiums and an additional quarter of respondents (25 percent) plan to increase the portion that employees pay for their premiums over the next year. Of those employers already planning to make changes, one in four (25 percent) is increasing their emphasis on high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) with health savings accounts (HSAs,) while an additional 14 percent are assessing the feasibility of adding one.
“Employers across the country have to deal with the impact of implementing the ACA while still being able to provide competitive benefits for their employees,” said Julie Stich, Research Director for the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. “Employees across the board can expect to see changes in how their employer-sponsored health care plans operate.”
Employers are also encouraging healthy behavior in employees, with one in five (19 percent) developing or expanding organized wellness programs within the last year. Additionally, 14 percent of employers adopted or expanded the use of financial incentives to encourage healthier lifestyles within the past year, with another quarter (25 percent) planning to do so in the next year.
“We are seeing trends that indicate more changes may be on the horizon. More and more organizations are losing their grandfathered status, dropping from 45 percent in 2011 to 27 percent in 2013,” said Stich. “Also many organizations are redesigning their plans to avoid the 2018 excise tax on high-cost or so called “Cadillac plans.” In 2011, only 1 in 10 indicated they were redesigning their plan to avoid the additional tax, but we’ve seen a steady increase over the past two years that shows the number will soon double.”
Survey participants for the 2013 survey were single employer plans (including corporations) in the database of the International Foundation and the International Social of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists (ISCEBS). Survey responses were received from 966 human resources and benefit professionals and industry experts. The surveyed organizations represent a wide base of U.S. employers from nearly 20 different industries.
To download a copy of the survey 2013 Employer-Sponsored Health Care: ACA’s Impact visit www.ifebp.org/ACA2013.
About the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans is a nonprofit organization, dedicated to being a leading objective and independent global source of employee benefits and compensation education and information. Total membership includes 33,000 individuals representing multiemployer trust funds, corporations, public employer groups and professional advisory firms throughout the United States and Canada. Each year, the International Foundation offers over 100 educational programs, including conferences and e-learning courses. Membership provides access to personalized research services and daily news delivery. The International Foundation sponsors the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist® (CEBS®) program in conjunction with the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Dalhousie University in Canada.
About Research at the International Foundation
The International Foundation conducts, writes and disseminates research studies, surveys and special reports on a range of benefits, compensation and financial literacy issues. The purpose of the International Foundation’s research efforts is to enhance the capacity of its members and constituents to understand, design and deliver employee benefits that improve the financial security of plan participants and employees. Research programs include benchmarking studies, attitudinal surveys, special reports, hot topic surveys and collaborative projects.