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Employer Changes for the State Insurance Exchanges?

In 2014, when online state insurance exchanges become operational, many wonder, what will the large employers do? The Health Care Reform Survey, conducted by a New York based stock broker, finds that many employers are still undecided- almost 50%.


When 1400 employers surveyed were asked if they expected to continue with their current group medical plans, or change to a competitive state insurance exchange, 52% thought they expected to keep their current coverage, while 33% aren’t sure. Another 12% responded that they are somewhat or not at all likely to continue coverage.


88% of those who responded believe that group health plan costs will increase because of health care reform mandates.


72% plan to increase employee contributions to offset the higher costs, such as eliminating ancillary benefits


More than half of the employers surveyed do not fully understand the availability & eligibility of wellness & small business tax credits.


The perceptions of the new health plan can be seen in full at http://www.willis.com/documents/publications/Services/Employee_Benefits/Health_Care_Reform_Survey_2010_V9.pdf

This site shows the entire health care reform survey and results.


Some of the large changes expected are as follows. Group plan eligibility is for 50 and more employees. For the employees to be eligible, they must work 30 hours a week, as of 1/1/2014. Dependent coverage will extend till 26 years old, as of 9/23/2010. Starting 2014, group health plans may not impose a waiting period more than 90 days.


So, what are some actions being considered by the employers to respond to these new changes? Some, 20%, are considering changing schedules of part-time workers to prevent them from becoming eligible for coverage for health care under the new law. Others,12%, plan to purchase low cost packages for part-time employees. Still other employers, 11%, plan to pay penalties and make no changes to their current plans offered. While 46% of the employers surveyed said that they would require proof of no other insurance coverage available to children, prior to covering any dependents under new plans.


The overall thought of the survey is that most employers do not believe that the health care reform legislation will reduce the increasing health care costs and because of that the majority of employers expect to maintain their plans, rather than encourage employees to use state exchanges.

 

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