More than half of employers have not calculated the costs of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but of those that have, 61% say PPACA has increased their expenses. According to a survey of 1,200 employers by Willis Human Capital Practice, a majority (60%) of employers would like to avoid increases in spending on their group plans. However, only 20% of respondents plan to adjust benefits outside of health care — including retirement, dental, vision, salaries and vacation.

“Employers continue to recognize the value of providing medical benefits, how important those benefits are to their employees and that providing benefits allows them to attract and retain the employees they need,” says Jay Kirschbaum, practice leader at Willis. 

Other findings include:

  • Of the employers who say PPACA has increased their costs, 17% say those increases are more than 5%.
  • 34% of employers say they will shift benefits costs to employees, while 55% feel that competitors should do so.
  • 39% are choosing to voluntarily forego grandfathered status, due to a desire to control plan design and other elements such as co-pays and premiums; last year, only 13% of employers made this decision. Willis says this increase drastically exceeds the Department of Health and Human Services predictions.
  • Most employers are intending to play under the pay or play mandate

As for the future, Kirschbaum says: “While few employers consciously manage their group medical benefits as a component of their total rewards perspective, survey responses indicate the very beginning of an employer trend in this direction.”

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