More employers are planning to make changes in 2014 to their current benefit plans that will affect employees and plan participants as a result of current and upcoming PPACA regulations:
- Almost one in five employers (18%) has already increased the participant share of plan premiums and 25% expect to take that step in 2014.
- Some 14% have increased in-network deductibles and 18% will take that step next year.
- Only 10% have already taken the step of increasing the employee contribution to dependent coverage costs but 24% expect to jump on that bandwagon in 2014.
- Some 14% have already increased out-of-pocket costs and 18% will take that step next year.
One surprise, says Stich, is that employers are already taking steps to avoid the nondeductible excise tax on their high-cost health plans, which are defined as healthcare premiums that exceed $10,200 for single coverage, or $27,500 for family coverage. The tax goes into effect in 2018, but 17% have already begun redesigning their primary health plan to avoid the tax and 40% are considering action.
Among other findings:
- Some 25% are increasing their emphasis on high-deductible health plans with health savings accounts (HSAs,) while 14% are assessing the feasibility of adding a plan.
- Almost one-third of respondents (31%) named extending coverage of adult children to age 26 as the ACA provision producing the most significant cost increase.
- One quarter of respondents (25%) plan to expand the use of financial incentives to encourage healthier lifestyles in the next year.
The online survey was conducted in March 2013. The 966 respondents include benefit and human resources professionals as well as financial managers.
Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.