U.S. employers may actually be less interested in learning about the effects of their Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) on their health plans now than they were two years ago.
Analysts at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) have posted data supporting that possibility in a summary of results from a survey of 721 U.S. employers conducted earlier this year, and a similar survey conducted in 2013.
About 27 percent of the participating employers had fewer than 100 employees, and 84 percent had fewer than 2,500 employees.
Some of the employers that participated said they have taken active steps to comply with PPACA and avoid PPACA-related penalties.
Nine percent said they have made changes to their benefits coverage to avoid the PPACA Cadillac plan excise tax, which is set to impose a 40 percent penalty on high-cost health benefits starting in 2018.
See also: PPACA Cadillac plan tax: Who pays what?
Twenty percent said they have changed their definition of “full-time employee” in response to the PPACA employer “play or pay” coverage provision.
But 67 percent of the participant said they weren’t doing anything in response to the Cadillac plan tax, weren’t aware of the issue, or haven’t yet planning or making changes.
Sixty-three percent are keeping their definition of full-time employee the same or have not yet analyzed the issue.
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Along the same lines, just 14 percent said they are concerned about employees leaving their organizations now that public exchange plan coverage is available, and 86 percent are unconcerned.
Obama administration efforts to help employers by postponing enforcement of the play-or-pay provisions may decrease employers’ interest in the law.
When SHRM asked about a list of analysis, planning and communication activities, the participating employers gave answers that were about the same as the answers they gave two years earlier, before the PPACA public exchange system had opened or the employee counting period had started.
Participants were more likely to say they had communicated about PPACA with employees and retirees, but they were only slightly more likely to say they had already analyzed the effects of PPACA or consulted with experts.
The percentage of participants saying they had no plans at all to analyze the short-term effects of PPACA on their health benefits arrangements increased to 10 percent, from 5 percent.
Similarly, the percentage that said they had no plans to analyze the long-term effects of PPACA increased to 10 percent, from 5 percent.
The percentage that said they had no plans to send human resources staff to learn about PPACA increased to 11 percent, from 7 percent. They percentage that said they already had gotten HR staffers some PPACA training, or planning to get HR staffers PPACA training, fell to 81 percent, from 86 percent.