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How Will Small Businesses Handle Health Insurance Reform?

June 26th, 2012 ::

By Karen Axelton

The Supreme Court’s decision on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will be announced this week. But regardless what the Court decides about health-care reform, it’s unlikely to have a drastic effect on health insurance coverage currently offered by businesses, according to an International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans survey reported in LifeHealthPro.

A whopping 85 percent of businesses surveyed say they either definitely will or are very likely to keep offering health insurance coverage in 2014, and almost 10 percent said they are somewhat likely to continue coverage. Just 1 percent definitely will not offer coverage, and 4 percent were somewhat or very unlikely to offer coverage.

The survey polled U.S. employers of all sizes and in about 20 different industries to ask “What are you doing with your plan as a result of health care reform?” So far, many businesses have been in a holding pattern. Although 47.2 percent have analyzed how health care reform could affect their businesses, and 39.1 percent are starting to take steps to deal with reform, 31.3 percent are taking a “wait and see” attitude.

What are they waiting for? Some 80.7 percent are awaiting the Supreme Court decision, 62.4 percent say they want more regulatory guidance and 52.1 percent are waiting to see who wins the 2012 Presidential and Congressional elections.

Based on the analysis they’ve done so far, about 70 percent of respondents say the health care law will lead to higher costs in 201. To curb costs, employers are making some changes, with the most popular being:

  • increasing employees’ share of premium costs
  • increasing in-network deductibles
  • increasing out-of-pocket limits

Health care reform or no, rising health insurance costs have been a reality for businesses for the past several years. Despite the costs, “employers recognize that offering health care coverage is an important benefit that helps retain current employees, attract future talent, and increase employee satisfaction,” said Michael Wilson, International Foundation CEO.

Image by Flickr user Keithburtis (Creative Commons)

The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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