Friday, August 30, 2013

Survey: Big Business May Shift Retirees, Part-Timers To Insurance Exchanges

This is from Jay Hancock writing at KHN:  
Corporate America is taking a hard look at moving retirees and part-time workers into health insurance marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act, suggests a survey by the National Business Group on Health. ...
NBGH, an association of large employers offering what are often substantial medical benefits, polled its membership about their plans for 2014. Of 360 members, 108 responded, most with more than 10,000 employees each. The findings are likely to add to the discussion about whether the Affordable Care Act will erode traditional, employer-based coverage.

NBGH asked whether employers expected various groups "who may currently be covered by your plans will choose public exchange coverage when it becomes available in 2014."
While 40 percent predicted no change, a fifth of those responding expected part-time workers to buy exchange plans next year. The health law does not require employer coverage for those who work less than 30 hours a week. 
A fourth anticipated that retirees too young for Medicare and still on the company plan could choose exchange coverage in 2014. 
An even greater percentage -- 41 percent -- figured former employees on the company plan under COBRA provisions would buy instead in the subsidized online exchanges next year. ...
Full-time employees seeking exchange coverage in 2014 are likely to be lower-paid workers in retail and hospitality who don't take the company plan because they can't afford it, she said. The ACA marketplaces come with substantial government subsidies for those with family incomes of up to about $94,000. 
Fifteen percent of the employers in the NBGH survey saw spouses or other dependents shifting to the online marketplaces next year; 12 percent saw full-time workers making the switch.  
Last week Kaiser Health News reported that United Parcel Service would drop about 15,000 working, white-collar spouses from its company plan next year but would continue to cover nonworking spouses. 
While large employers are barred from buying on state exchanges at least until 2017, their workers and dependents could buy plans as individuals. ...