Results Of New Survey On How Employers Are Dealing With Healthcare Reform

The new healthcare reform’s excise tax provision, set to go into effect in 2018 was number 1 on the employers’ list of concerns in recent Mercer study. More immediate concerns, such as cost increases were also ranked near the top. It is expected that healthcare reform’s 2011 mandates will increase cost by an additional 3%.

The rate increases are being felt because of the increase in the age limit of covered dependent children to age 26 and the elimination of benefit maximums. 20% of employers surveyed expressed concern over these provisions.

Auto-enrollment for new hires is also a major concern. Currently only 16% of plan sponsors auto-enroll new employees into a health plan. Auto-enrolling will cause more employees to join the plans which in turn will drive up the employers cost.

Roughly 43% of the respondents report that they will strongly consider auto-enrolling new employees into their lowest-cost plan. Another 20% of respondents report that they are strongly considering implementing a 90 day waiting period for new employees before enrolling them in the health plan which is the maximum allowed under the law.

In order to help control the additional costs that accompanies the age expansion provision; about half of plan sponsors surveyed are seriously considering requiring proof that dependents do not have coverage available to them through their own employers. A fifth would seriously consider changing contribution rate tiers.