Most Employers Plan To Continue Offering Health Coverage, Survey Finds
Nearly 70% of respondents to an employer survey said they intend to continue offering health coverage benefits to their workers, a 23% jump from 2012, according to preliminary results of the survey by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports (Viebeck, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 4/10).
Final results from the annual survey of more than 950 employee benefit professionals and practitioners are scheduled to be released next month (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans release, 4/10).
According to "Healthwatch," the survey helps answer some of the uncertainty over whether U.S. employers plan to comply with the Affordable Care Act's coverage requirements or drop employee health benefits and pay a penalty.
Although the large majority of respondents said they plan to retain their employees' health benefits, 47.4% predicted that the ACA would raise their costs by 1% to 4%, and 16.8% of respondents estimated that their costs would increase by more than 10%.
Respondents in smaller businesses were more likely to predict cost increases over 10%, and they were more likely to cite the ACA for changes in their hiring, firing and scheduling decisions ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 4/10).
Higher Premiums Likely Linked to Drop in Employer-Sponsored Insurance Rates, Study Finds
Meanwhile, a study released Thursday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation concluded that higher premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance led to a decline in the number of U.S. residents with work-based coverage, Modern Healthcare reports. According to the study, 159 million people had such coverage in 2011, down by 11.5 million from 2000.
Average premiums for employer-based coverage increased from $2,490 in 2000 to $5,081 in 2011. Employee contributions also increased during that period from $435 to $1,056.
All but three states reported a statistically relevant decline in employer-based coverage during the period, with rates falling by at least 10 percentage points in 22 states. The largest decline was in Michigan where the employer -based coverage rate dropped by 15.2% from 2000 to 2011, while the smallest rate of decline -- less than 1% -- was in North Dakota.
The only demographic to experience an increase in employer -sponsored coverage were young adults ages 19 to 25, which the study attributed to the ACA provision allowing dependents under age 26 to remain on their parents' insurance policy (Block, Modern Healthcare, 4/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.