Health insurance in the workplace won’t go away because of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. But it will be different.
That’s the latest word from roughly 1,000 employers surveyed by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. Though the new report found that employers are concerned about cost increases to health benefits next year as a result of reform, virtually all employers intend to keep their coverage for full-time workers.
The majority of employers (69 percent) say they will “definitely” continue to provide employer-sponsored health care when health exchanges come online in 2014 — a 23 point increase from 2012.
Another quarter of respondents (25 percent) said they are “very likely” to continue their employer-sponsored coverage. The findings are a follow-up from preliminary results of the study released last month.
Opponents of President Obama’s PPACA have argued that employers will drop health coverage as an unintended consequence of the law that will negatively affect employees who want to stick with the coverage they know and like.
Estimates have varied widely on just what reform will do to employer-sponsored insurance, with some reports projecting 10-30 percent of employers will drop coverage. But more recent analyses — including from consulting firms Aon Hewitt and Towers Watson — suggested that figures are overblown.
In good news for brokers selling the plans, and employees who depend on them, fewer than 3 percent of companies surveyed reported they were at least somewhat unlikely to continue coverage of full-time employees.
‘More changes on the horizon’
More than nine in 10 employers said they are past the “wait and see” stage of planning, and 52 percent have begun to institute changes in their benefits, according to the survey.