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But they are still committed to providing health benefits
Although health care reform is a top concern for U.S. employers, most organizations have not measured its cost impact, according to a survey report released by insurance broker Willis Human Capital Practice.
Willis Health Care Reform Survey 2014 presents the findings of a poll conducted in January of more than 1,000 U.S. employers of varying sizes, industry sectors and geographies.
Only 37 percent of respondents have identified the cost impact of health care reform on their health plans in 2014. While this is an increase over the 28 percent of respondents that had identified these costs in the prior year’s survey, “it demonstrates that for many organizations, determining an accurate assessment of these figures is still a challenge,” the report states.
Of the respondents that have identified a cost impact of health care reform:
Meanwhile, group medical costs for employers continue to rise. Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of respondents indicated that their health plan costs increased in 2014. Understanding how much of that increase is due to changes in compliance vs. other factors, such as the overall medical cost trend, is crucial to their strategic planning, according to the report.
Despite some highly visible reports in the media to the contrary, employers generally do not plan to eliminate group medical benefits as part of their compensation practices, the survey results indicated. Sixty percent of respondents said they were extremely unlikely to “move away from benefit engagement,” and another 17 percent said they were somewhat unlikely to do so.
Other key findings of the survey include the following:
“The surprising finding is that few employers actually know how expensive compliance with health care reform has been or will be for their organizations,” said Jay Kirschbaum, practice leader of the Willis Human Capital Practice’s National Legal and Research Group. “Without that knowledge, employers may not be able to accurately assess the impact and determine the optimal way to proceed with their plans.”
Stephen Miller, CEBS, is an online editor/manager for SHRM. Follow him on Twitter
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