In addition, nearly a quarter of respondents, 23%, indicated that they are very likely to eliminate healthcare coverage altogether, or have already done so, and instead direct employees to the public exchanges. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, individuals with incomes up to 400% of the federal poverty line are eligible for government subsidies to help pay for exchange plans.
The survey was conducted by CFO Research on behalf of Prudential. Top finance officials at 182 companies were surveyed. Just over half the companies had annual revenues of more than $5 billion; only 2% took in less than $500 million per year.
The willingness to consider major changes to healthcare benefits is almost certainly rooted in concerns about cost. More than half of the companies surveyed, 54%, cited controlling healthcare costs as a top priority. That was higher than any other benefits-related concern cited by respondents. In addition, 29% of company finance officials indicated that minimizing the impact of rising healthcare costs on employees was a major concern. Premiums for employer-based coverage have increased by 80% over the last decade, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
However, few employers expect to shield their workers from the rising cost of healthcare. Four out of five respondents indicated that they have either already shifted more costs onto employees (22%) or that they anticipate doing so (58%).
"Everyone is looking at how to better control benefit costs and healthcare is still the number one issue," said Jim Gemus, senior vice president of product for Prudential Group Insurance, in a statement. "But they are acutely aware of the need to retain employees and attract new ones.”
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