According to a report issued this week, 86% of single employers and corporations will or are likely to continue to provide health coverage to their employees in 2014. The survey was done in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s upcoming ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
A High Court decision is expected before the end of the month.
The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans’ (IFEBP) Health Care Reform: 2012 Employer Actions Update survey occurred after the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on PPACA, and was based upon questions to 968 human resources, benefits professionals, and industry experts representing single employer plans or corporations in April.
The research showed that only 1% of the respondents will definitely not provide coverage to all full-time employees in 2014.
“These employers recognize that offering health care coverage is an important benefit that helps retain current employees, attract future talent, and increase employee satisfaction,” said Michael Wilson, International Foundation CEO.
Nearly two in five employers or 39.1%–not even the majority–are beginning to develop tactics to deal with the implications of reform, while 31.3% said they are taking a “wait and see” approach, according to the survey results.
Clearly, employers have several factors hanging over their heads before they can achieve some clarity.
Among those organizations in a “wait and see” phase, 80.7% are awaiting the Supreme Court decision, 62.4% are awaiting more regulatory guidance and 52.1% are awaiting the outcome of the 2012 Presidential and Congressional elections.
However, “wait and see” does not mean employers aren’t researching what the future holds: Nearly half of all employers, or 47.2%, have conducted an analysis to determine how health care reform legislation will impact their health care plan costs.
Almost 70% found they expect upheld PPACA legislation will increase their costs in 2012, according to the survey. Cost spending is definitely expected to rise. According to a report released this week, actuaries and economists in the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are predicting that health care spending will increase about 4% for the next couple of years.
“Employers are redesigning their health plans to remain in compliance and to curb anticipated costs,” stated Julie Stich, the International Foundation’s research director. “The research told us that increasing participants’ share of premium costs is the most common technique, followed by increasing in-network deductibles and out-of-pocket limits.”