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Health Insurance Costs and Reform Uncertainty Challenge Employers

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, March 19, 2012

It appears that reforms under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are doing little to appease employers' longstanding concerns about the rising cost of providing health insurance to workers.

That might not necessarily be a bad thing, however, if that anxiety creates cost-effective new benefit options that target what employees say they value.

For the fourth year in a row, the cost of employer-sponsored healthcare topped the list of concerns in the 18th annual Top Five Total Rewards Priorities Survey, published by the International Society of Certified Benefits Specialists and Deloitte Consulting LLP.

David Lusk, a principal at Deloitte and author of the report, says there is too much uncertainty around the PPACA to offer much comfort for employers right now.

"The first [uncertainty] being the Supreme Court reviewing the individual mandate," Lusk says. The court has set aside three days next week for the review, with a decision expected in June. "There are studies that have been done that say without the individual mandate, the concept doesn't hold together. We are going to spend more time hearing and arguing about this topic than any topic in decades. That gives you a sense of the importance of it."

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