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Employer survey reveals concerns about the cost of health reform Posted: June 21st, 2011

By Maryalene LaPonsie

In 2014, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will require employers with more than 50 full-time equivalent employees to provide group health insurance to their workers or pay penalties. According to a recent Lockton Benefit Group survey, 1 in 5 employers might drop their group health insurance plan and pay penalties rather than comply with health reform provisions.

Lockton Benefit Group, the world's largest independent insurance brokerage firm, surveyed its clients to gauge their thoughts on employer mandates included in the health reform law. Among the PPACA provisions employers said made them concerned or very concerned:

  • Increased administrative obligations: 86 percent
  • Impact of employer "play or pay" health insurance mandate in 2014: 71 percent
  • Cost of benefit mandates already implemented such as medical coverage for adult children: 63 percent
  • Cost impact of the automatic enrollment requirement in 2014: 60 percent

In addition, 45 percent of employers responding to the survey indicated they are more concerned about the implementation of the PPACA this year than they were last year.

To compensate for the health insurance mandate, employers responding to the survey say they plan to use a variety of strategies to reduce costs, including the use of an allowed "look-back" period to better manage full-time employees, increasing deductible and co-payment amounts, and increasing the employee portion of health insurance premiums.

Nearly 20 percent of respondents say they will drop their group health plan in favor of paying penalties. Another 17 percent will consider reconfiguring their workforce to substitute part-time workers for full-time employees.