American Employers Still Intend to Offer Health Insurance After Health Care Reform FullyTakes Effect

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With the full implementation of health care reform taking effect in the coming months, U.S. employers have expressed concern about the possibility of rising health care costs, according to a survey released on Thursday. Despite this concern, however, almost all employers plan to continue offering health insurance benefits to their full-time workers.

Health Care Reform Expected to Hike Spending

Employers are reportedly very concerned that their health care spending will rapidly increase once the health care reform law takes effect at the beginning of 2014.

According to a poll conducted by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, an organization of human resources professionals, the requirement that companies with at least 50 employees provide affordable health benefits is the chief reason most firms expect spending to rise.

The organization found that 88 percent of companies have already seen their spending increase due to provisions like the requirement to keep young adults on their parents’ plans until they turn 26.

Additional rules set to take effect next year will further increase spending, employers reported.

Employers to Continue Offering Health Insurance

Though a large number of employers anticipate an increase in health care spending in 2014, a very small number actually plan to eliminate coverage for workers as a result.

Of the companies polled, more than two-thirds definitely plan to offer health insurance benefits to full-time workers, while only 0.5 percent definitely plan to discontinue coverage.

It is estimated that 159 million people currently receive job-based health insurance from roughly 90 percent of employers. The companies that do not plan to offer coverage next year will face penalties starting at $2,000 per employee.

The CommonWealth Fund estimates that 55 million people are currently going without health insurance. Employees who suddenly find themselves in that category may benefit from a health exchange set up in their state that offers access to federal subsidies meant to lower costs.

(Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)