Looks like despite all the back-and-forth about the future of Obamacare, companies remain steadfast in their committment to offering employees medical plans in the next year.
A new survey from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) has found that most organizations are not eliminating health care coverage for their employees in 2015.
Only 1% of organizations reported planning to eliminate health care coverage, according to the Health Benefits Survey.
The survey also showed that many human resource professionals are looking ahead to 2018, when an employer tax on high-cost health plans goes into effect. This excise tax of 40% will apply to the value of health care benefits that exceeds certain thresholds.
Eighty-five percent of respondents did not expect their organizations’ health care benefits to trigger the excise tax in 2018. Of the organizations that did, 75%t expected their preferred provider organization (PPO) plans to do so.
Although almost one-third of respondents (29.4%) said they didn’t know what actions they would take to avoid the excise tax, very few (3.5%) said they would eliminate health care coverage as a result.
Large organizations were more likely to expect their health care plans to prompt the excise tax in 2018, which could account for the changes that some are making to their plans in 2015. They were more likely than small organizations to add a spouse surcharge, eliminate coverage for part-time workers, create tiered networks and add wellness rewards or penalties in 2015.
For all organizations, the addition of wellness rewards or penalties was the most common change to health care plans for 2015, cited by 26.3% of all respondents.
All other planned changes to health care plans were cited by significantly fewer respondents:
- requiring spouses to get coverage through their own employers: 7.9% of organizations
- implementing a spouse surcharge: 6.7%
- creating tiered networks: 3.6%
- moving to the private exchange: 3.2%
- adopting a value-based insurance design: 2.6%
- offering an employee subsidy for coverage on the private exchange: 2.6%, and
- eliminating coverage for part-time workers: 1.3%.
The Health Benefits Survey polled more than 3,300 HR professionals from early February to early April. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent.