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PPACA still frustrates brokers

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After ominous reports of negative effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, brokers in the trenches are speaking up: The law is hurting — or at least will hurt — their business.

A new LIMRA survey of 228 employee benefits advisors finds 72 percent predict that health care reform will have a negative impact on sales of group medical insurance, and about half say fewer employers will offer health insurance benefits in the future because of PPACA.

Though the survey findings is “not surprising,” as LIMRA points out, the predictions correlate with continuous reports of frustration with the law in the industry.

Related story: Are brokers really leaving the industry in droves?

LIMRA found that advisors who represent small employers (fewer than 50 employees) are far more concerned by the impact of PPACA (with 77 percent saying it will have a negative impact) than advisors who represent larger employers (50 or more employees), 62 percent of whom felt PPACA would have a negative impact on group benefits. 

Additionally, 60 percent of advisors who sell in the small group market think fewer employers will offer health benefits due to the law, while 48 percent who sell in the larger market say it’s a likely outcome.

But despite their group market pessimism, brokers were slightly more optimistic about the potential of individual health insurance: 42 percent of brokers cited a “potentially positive effect” on those sales, with 45 percent citing a negative impact.

Three-quarters of brokers also said they expect more employers will make any non-medical benefits they offer 100 percent voluntary in the future. As far as the public exchanges are concerned, brokers overall think about 20 percent of their clients will shift into them, as will 40 percent of their individual clients.

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