A new survey of large companies suggests employers will keep finding ways to trim coverage costs while meeting their obligations under the healthcare reform law to offer a minimum set of benefits at an affordable cost.
Employers are projecting that they can limit their healthcare cost increases in 2015 to 5% if they make certain changes to the design of their health plans, according to a survey released this week by the National Business Group on Health. However, if they don't make any changes to their plans, those costs would rise by 6.5% next year, employers told the nonprofit association that includes nearly 400 large U.S. employers.
“One of the themes I saw is the effort of employers to put employees in the driver's seat as healthcare consumers,” said Karen Marlo, a vice president at the National Business Group on Health. They are also making efforts to prepare for and postpone the impact of the excise or “Cadillac” tax scheduled to take effect in 2018, Marlo said.
One surprising survey result found that one in six employers plans to offer coverage that doesn't meet all of the Affordable Care Act's requirements for value and affordability. Some interpreted the finding to mean that those companies would offer an ACA-compliant plan in order to avoid tax penalties, but would also offer a so-called “skinny plan” that most employees would choose.