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Willis looks at PPACA's effects on disability benefits

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Willis, an insurance broker, has found evidence that the cost of complying with the new federal health coverage requirements could have a small but noticeable effect on the disability benefits market.

The company polled about 1,200 employers. About 20 percent had fewer than 50 full-time workers, and about one-third had more than 500 full-time workers. 

Fewer than a quarter of the survey participants have tried to quantify the effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) provisions already in force. About 40 percent of the employers that have tried to quantify the effects of PPACA said the law has increased their overall benefits costs by more than 2 percent.

When Willis asked the employers how any extra PPACA costs might affect spending on other traditional, employer-paid group benefits, 22 percent said it was not at all likely that their companies would reduce financial support for non-medical benefits, such as disability insurance, and 6 percent said it was extremely likely that their companies would reduce support for those benefits. Another 28 percent said their companies might reduce support for non-medical benefits.

When Willis asked about any PPACA-related shifts to voluntary, employee-paid benefits, 15 percent of the participants said their companies were not at all likely to increase use of voluntary benefits as a result of PPACA. But 3 percent said their companies were very likely to do so, and 11 percent said their companies were somewhat likely to do so.

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