Employers weigh in on how they feel about the continued chancesfor upheaval in the health care markets due to thegoings on in Washington, D.C., in the Fifth Annual TransamericaCenter for Health Studies Survey: “EmployersHold Steady in Time of Uncertainty.”

|

Harris Poll surveyed 1,520 U.S. employer decision-makers onbehalf of the nonprofit research center, and found that 66 percentsay their company is extremely aware or very aware of the potential changes to federal health care policyby both Congress and the Trump administration.

|

The top concern? More than a quarter (26 percent) of thesurvey’s respondents say the most common fear among their employeesis losing health care due to a pre-existing condition.

|

“Overwhelmingly, both employers and employees are aware ofpotential changes to our health care system and are tuned intowhat’s happening in Washington,” says Hector De La Torre, thecenter’s executive director.

|

If Congress and the administration were to eliminate theAffordable Care Act’s employer mandate, 22 percent of employerswould evaluate their health care coverage options, 21 percent wouldnot make any changes, and 19 percent would increase coverage.

|

Currently, 84 percent of employers are offering benefits totheir part-time and full-time employees, and right now, employers –and their workforce – are pretty happy with the status quo of theirorganization’s coverage.

|

The vast majority (91 percent) of employers believe theirworkers are satisfied with the health insurance plans their companyoffers, and employees confirm this: three in four workers aresatisfied with the health insurance plan (77 percent) and otherbenefits (77 percent) their company offers to them, according to anearlier Transamerica survey of 4,602 U.S. adults ages 18 to 24, released lastmonth.

|

Even so, 76 percent of employers say their company is concernedabout the affordability of health insurance. For those employersthat offer health insurance to their employees, 61 percent areworking to keep costs constant for employees, including employees’share of premiums (61 percent), deductibles (59 percent) andco-pays/co-insurance (60 percent).

|

However, only 59 percent of employees feel that their employeris concerned about the affordability of their health insurance,according to the earlier survey.

|

A majority (86 percent) of the employers concerned aboutaffordability are proactively doing something about it. Nearly athird (30 percent) are promoting health and wellness, and the samepercentage say their company is encouraging the use of genericmedications.

|

More employers are offering wellness programs now compared to2016 (55 percent versus 62 percent), returning to numbers that aresimilar to 2015 (61 percent). Roughly four in five employersbelieve the programs have made a positive impact on workers’ health(78 percent), and productivity and performance (75 percent).

|

However, a disconnect still remains, since only 40 percent ofemployees in the earlier survey say their employer offers awellness program and a higher percentage of employers actuallyoffer programs.

|

This could be due to a related survey finding that managers (78percent) and professionals (75 percent) are more likely than hourlyworkers (65 percent) to participate in company wellnessofferings.

|

“Employers may want to examine how their programs are structuredto make sure all employees have access to these programs andopportunities to relieve stress and improve their health,especially in light of employees’ concerns about pre-existingconditions and access to affordable health insurance coverage,” DeLa Torre says.

|

Of the companies that currently do not offer and are not likelyto offer wellness programs to their employees, 29 percent say theircompany is not big enough and 23 percent say their employees arenot interested.

|

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical BenefitsPRO information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and BenefitsPRO.com events
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.

Katie Kuehner-Hebert

Katie Kuehner-Hebert is a freelance writer based in Running Springs, Calif. She has more than three decades of journalism experience, with particular expertise in employee benefits and other human resource topics.