Thursday, October 9, 2014

Most Employers Reject Private Exchanges According to New Survey

This is from the National Business Coalition on Health:
In a departure from other industry polls [for a survey highlighting a different conclusion, see: in 2015, 95 percent of companies expect to retain their employer-subsidized health care coverage in their benefits packages, but only 25 percent of the companies believe they will offer such coverage in another decade], employers said they plan to reject private exchanges as a way to control rising health care costs, according to a new survey of more than 330 employers conducted by the non-profit National Business Coalition on Health and Benz Communications.

More than half (55%) of the respondents indicate they will “never” stop sponsoring employee health plans in favor of giving employees money to buy coverage through a private exchange. Almost one-third (32%) said they are considering moving to a private exchange within 3-5 years, 8% are considering such a move within the next three years, and just 5% say they already use a private exchange to provide employees’ health benefits.

These findings are in the first of two reports resulting from the 2014 Inside Benefits Communication Survey, a collaborative effort of NBCH and Benz to learn how companies are strategizing and implementing benefits communication through the lens of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), compliance mandates and industry trends. The research gathered key data from 333 human resource/benefits professionals about their benefits communication approaches, strategies and results. Respondents spanned a wide cross-section of geographic regions, corporate industries, and business coalition affiliations. ...

The ACA looms large for employers in creating benefits communication strategies. 
  • Close to three quarters (73%) of respondents report that the ACA will have the biggest impact on their benefits communication strategy in the year ahead. 
  • However, plan design strategy seems to maintain the status quo with 39.4% saying they are maintaining current benefit plans and coverage levels, without increasing employee costs—like deductibles, coinsurance, and copays. 
  • Slightly more than 32% indicated they will also maintain current benefit and coverage levels, but increase employee costs.
When asked how their company is preparing to comply with the ACA “Cadillac tax” in 2018,
  • 26% responded that they are maintaining current benefit plans and coverage levels without increasing employee costs; 
  • almost 20% said they are maintaining levels, but increasing employee costs; 
  • 15% are reducing benefit plans and coverage levels while increasing employee costs. ...