In response to the controversial Obamacare’s play-or-pay requirement, many employers said they’d opt to go the pay route. New research shows how many firms actually followed through on that claim.
In 2010, the year the ACA was signed into law, 80.6% of private sector employers with between 25-99 employees offered healthcare coverage to employees, according to the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey.
Last year, that number dropped to 73.5%.
That’s a fairly significant decline, especially when compared to private sector employers with 1000-plus workers. In 2010, 99.5% of these employers offered coverage, and in 2015, 99.4% did.
There was actually a very small uptick among employers with between 100 and 999 employees when it came to healthcare coverage offerings, 94.9% offered coverage in 2010 and 95.1% did last year.
One of the more interesting revelations from the study involves the small firms that aren’t subject to ACA rules and regs. Businesses in this category have seen the greatest decline in healthcare offerings to employees.
Example: In 2010, 60.9% of businesses with 10-24 employees offered healthcare coverage, compared to just 48.9% last year.
No impact on recruiting, retention
It makes sense smaller employers that still find themselves in the “Applicable Large Employer” (ALE) category would opt to stop offering coverage because of the administrative burden of the ACA.
But what about the smallest firms — what’s their motivator for not offering coverage? It’s expensive.
Plus, the smallest firms aren’t offering healthcare benefits because not offering those benefits won’t hurt them — or so they claim.
Between 68%-80% of the small employers from the report said that not offering healthcare benefits has no impact on their employee recruitment, retention, attitude and performance.
And if small firms can avoid the cost and risk burden that comes along with offering healthcare coverage to employees without impacting their ability to recruit and retain strong employees, the decision seems like a sound one.