Almost half of employers say they are unsure what impact health care reform would have on the benefit coverage they offer in the next five years, according to a recent survey by Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company.

Colonial, Columbia, S.C., surveyed human resources representatives at a recent conference, asking about the impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) on employers.

It also asked them about the importance of voluntary benefits as part of their benefits programs.

On the impact of PPACA, Colonial Life’s survey produced these responses:

–49.5% were unsure of its impact

–19.5% expect to increase the benefits they offer

–17% expect to decrease the benefits they offer

–13% felt health care reform won’t have any impact on the benefits offered

Colonial Life’s survey was based on responses from more than 950 human resource managers and benefits administrators attending the annual conference of the Society for Human Resource Management in San Diego in July.

In addition to health care, the survey asked participants about the voluntary benefits they offer.

Of employers with voluntary benefits, 96% said voluntary benefits are important to their benefits package–and nearly 60% said they were very important.

Around half weren’t completely satisfied with employee participation in their voluntary benefits program, however. Of those, nearly half said they would consider switching to an enroller-assisted method, where benefits counselors are present at enrollment to provide face-to-face support to help employees understand their benefits.

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