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Large Employers Respond More Actively to Health Care Reform

By Stephen Miller  1/27/2011
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While many small U.S. employers were not sure about their next steps in the wake of health care reform, large employers are more likely to be considering changes to their health plan designs and increasing cost-sharing arrangements with employees, according to MetLife's Health Care Reform Poll.


Changes to Plan Design

Increase Cost Sharing


Employers, <50 employees




Employers, <500 employees




Employers, 500+ employees




Source: MetLife.

In addition, large employers are more likely to be focusing on wellness and disease management programs as a result of health care reform. While only 11 percent of organizations with fewer than 500 employees say they will put greater emphasis on these programs, the percentage more than doubles—to 27 percent—for employers with 500 or more employees.

HR More Knowledgeable than C-Suite

Interestingly, the poll found that the C-suite is not as familiar with the details of various components of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) as their HR colleagues. For instance, when asked about their level of understanding regarding changes required of grandfathered health insurance plans, 41 percent of HR professionals said they had a very good understanding of the law; just 19 percent of company executives claimed likewise.

“HR professionals are in an excellent position to work with company leadership to help them understand the business implications of health care reform,” commented Ronald Leopold, MetLife's vice president and national medical director for U.S. business.

Help Wanted

As a result of health care reform, employersparticularly small employersare relying on their benefits consultants, brokers and agents for more help. The MetLife poll found that 57 percent of employers with fewer than 500 employees say they will be relying on their consultants, brokers and agents more than ever, compared to 48 percent of employers with 500 or more workers.

MetLife, an insurance and employee benefits provider, sponsored the poll of U.S. benefits decision-makers and employees during the fourth quarter of 2010.

Stephen Miller is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Related Articles:

Globally, Health Insurance Cost Expected to Rise More Than 10%, SHRM Online Benefits Discipline, January 2011

Consumer-Directed Health Enrollment Reached 22 Million in 2010, SHRM Online Benefits Discipline, December 2010

Quick Links:

SHRM Online Benefits Discipline

SHRM Online Health Care Reform Resource Page
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