About 90% of employers expect their health plans to lose grandfathered status by 2014.

Analysts at Hewitt Associates Inc., Lincolnshire, Ill., have published that estimate in a summary of results from a survey of 466 companies that have a total of 6.9 employees.

When President Obama was campaigning for a health bill, he said he wanted a program that would let consumers who like their health coverage keep it.

Congress included “grandfather provisions” in the Affordable Care Act, the package that includes Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), and federal agencies recently released regulations that will let health insurance policies and health plans in place March 23 avoid many PPACA requirements if they remain in force without undergoing major changes.

Originally, some experts had speculated that about half of plans might keep their grandfathered status until 2014, when major changes in the U.S. health coverage system are set to take effect.

The Hewitt analysts found that 51% of survey participants at employers with self-insured medical plans expect to see the plans lose grandfather status in 2011 and 21% expect plans to lose grandfather status in 2012.

The analysts found that 46% of the participants at employers with fully insured medical plans expect the plans to lose grandfather status in 2011, and 18% expect the plans to lose that status in 2012.

About 72% of the participants said plans would lose grandfather status because of plan design changes, and 39% said the deciding factor would be changes in company health insurance cost-sharing arrangements.

Another 16% said the deciding factor could be changes in insurance carriers.

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