Health Care Reform—2017 Update

Jun 13, 2017
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The Affordable Care Act (ACA), enacted in 2010, brought about major reforms in health care coverage in the United States, affecting both insured and self-insured employer-sponsored health care plans. The purpose of this research is to examine how organizations are implementing the ACA and what impact it has had on employer-sponsored health benefits.

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Key Findings:


  • Employer-sponsored health care plan costs continue to increase year over year for the majority of organizations. Similar to previous years, health care coverage costs increased for nearly eight out of 10 organizations (79%) in 2017. On average, these organizations reported an 11%  increase in costs. One-quarter (25%) saw an increase of 5% or less, 41% reported an increase of 6% to 10%, and 34% had an increase of more than 10%.
  • Organizations are waiting to assess the impact of the excise tax. Fourteen percent of organizations have already taken action to avoid paying the excise tax. Some (44%) are waiting for final guidance before taking any action or plan to do an analysis to avoid paying the tax. Just 1% have opted to pay the tax, and 15% have not yet considered the impact of the tax.
  • Taxing insurance contributions could result in higher health care costs for employees. If insurance contributions lose tax-exempt status, two-thirds of organizations (67%) anticipate that employee health insurance premiums would increase, and 60% expect increased out-of-pocket health care costs.
  • Prohibiting preexisting condition exclusions is the most important element of the ACA, according to HR professionals. Eighty-three percent of HR professionals agreed that not allowing preexisting condition exclusions was one of the most important aspects of the ACA, followed by preventative care coverage with no cost-sharing (52%).


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