Employers say they’ll continue health coverage

Compliance cost is still a worry

Three-fourths of employers say they’ll continue to offer health benefit coverage for employees once the minimal essential health coverage rule begins in 2014, a new survey reveals.

But still a majority of employers are concerned about their ability to offer affordable health coverage to full-time employees.

More than 7,800 employers nationwide participated in the 2012 Health Care Reform Survey by Milwaukee-based Zywave, a provider of software solutions for the insurance and financial service industries. The survey was conducted from Jan. 6 to Feb. 24.

Among companies surveyed, 51 percent say they'll definitely continue to offer health benefit coverage, 29 percent will likely continue coverage, 3 percent will likely discontinue coverage, 1 percent will definitely discontinue or already have discontinued coverage, and 19 percent are unsure what they will do when the requirement goes into effect in 2014.

“These findings are consistent with other recent surveys on the topic,” says Zywave attorney Erica Storm. “Given the uncertainty surrounding health care reform, employers do not appear eager to make big changes to their benefit offerings. Plus, employers remain concerned about competing for talent and seem nervous that dropping coverage could affect recruiting and retention efforts, despite other health care options provided for in the law.”

Still, 76 percent say they’ve already seen an increase in their organizations’ health benefit costs or expect to see an increase as a result of health care reform provisions. Most employers (63 percent) plan to pass these increases on to employees.

More than half of employers (57 percent) are concerned about their ability to offer affordable health coverage to full-time employees.

The health care reform provisions that employers are most concerned about implementing and administering include: new reporting, disclosure and notification requirements (57 percent), additional W-2 reporting requirements (49 percent), and the requirement to automatically enroll new employees in a health plan (40 percent)

Employers continue to look to their employee benefit advisor to guide them through this time of uncertainty. Eighty-eight percent of respondents expect their employee benefit advisor to educate them on health care reform and its implications.


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