August 6, 2012: Large employers view the health reform law’s insurance exchanges as a viable option for some current and former employees, according to a survey from the National Business Group on Health released on Monday.
Of the 82 large employers that responded to a June survey, more than half believe that retirees could find insurance on the state health insurance exchanges, which are expected to start running in 2014. Nearly 40 percent said that COBRA employees could get on exchanges, while 35 percent said part-time employees may go to the exchanges. Sixteen percent of companies said they may send full-time employees to the exchanges.
Large employers’ attitudes toward the insurance exchanges has been a topic of controversy, as Republicans warn that employers will choose to pay a fine for not offering health insurance and send their employees to insurance exchanges instead. That could be a very unpopular move with people who like their current health insurance plans.
The survey also found that large employers contacted for the survey—most of which have more than 10,000 employees—expect their health benefits costs to increase 7 percent in 2013, the same amount as 2012. But even with costs holding steady, 60 percent of employers say they will increase premiums and 40 percent say they will increase in-network deductibles.
“Rising health care costs continue to plague employers at an alarming rate,” said Helen Darling, CEO of the National Business Group on Health in a statement. “Although cost increases have stabilized somewhat, they are still on a higher base from last year and are simply not sustainable, especially when our nation’s economy and workers’ wages are virtually flat and everybody is struggling.”
For the first time since the health reform law passed, a majority of employers said they would not have an insurance plan that is in “grandfather” status, which exempts plans from certain provisions of the health care law, such as covering preventive health services free of cost.
Source: John & Rusty Report via Word & Brown