Only a quarter of employers are certain they will still be offering company-sponsored health insurance a decade from now.
That’s down from 38 percent in 2010 and 73 percent in 2007, according to a survey by Towers Watson and the National Business Group on Health.
Blame – or credit, depending on your viewpoint – the changes set in motion by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which, it appears, will lead to a company benefits philosophy straight out of the 1950s.
If the projections hold, by 2024 or so, employers will once more pay people to work and workers will have assumed responsibility for their own health care costs.
The survey of 595 corporate executives echoes what many insurance experts have been predicting: that Corporate America will be exiting the health care business.
The most likely scenario to be derived from this survey – and others concerning employee health – is that companies will mostly simply host wellness plans that encourage health lifestyles. They may even offer assistance in choosing a health carrier. But they will no longer manage employee health insurance.
Commenting on the three-quarters of respondents who said they would likely not offer coverage 10 years hence, Randall Abbott, senior health-care consultant at benefits advisory firm Towers Watson, called the response the highest degree of uncertainty registered by any of the benefits surveys.
“That is very much a function of the uncertainty swirling around in the health-care landscape right now,” said Abbott.
Playing an especially critical role is the PPACA’s so-called Cadillac tax which, when it kicks in next year, will trigger a 40 percent excise tax on plans in excess of $10,200 for an individual and $27,500 for a family. Administrative costs of implementation loom large as well.