Employers won’t be making any major changes to their health benefits plans in 2015.

Just 1% of plan sponsors are planning to eliminate benefits next year, according to the SHRM/EBRI 2014 Health Benefits Survey, which interviewed 3,300 plan sponsors.

While wellness programs continue to gain popularity among employers, few are moving to tiered networks, private exchanges, value-based designs and reference pricing. “We found that very few employers plan to make major changes — at least for now — and most seem to be moving toward adoption of wellness programs,” says Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI’s health research and education.

  • 26.3% plan to add wellness rewards or penalties
  • 3.6% plan to add tiered networks
  • 3.2% plan to move to a private exchange
  • 2.6% plan to adopt a value-based design
  • 0.6% plan to adopt reference pricing

Fifteen percent of plan sponsors expect one of their plans will trigger a Cadillac tax — with PPOs being the most likely culprit.

  • 74.3% say PPOs will trigger the tax
  • 18.5% say their HMO will trigger the tax
  • 17.3% say their POS will trigger the tax
  • 7.6% say their CDHP will trigger the tax
  • 4.8% say their EPO will trigger the tax


A large percentage of plan sponsors don’t have a plan for avoiding the Cadillac tax.

  • 29.4% don’t have a plan to avoid the tax
  • 16.5% will change plans
  • 10.6% will reduce coverage
  • 9.4% will increase employee contributions
  • 4.7% will introduce a high-deductible plan
  • 3.5% will move to a private exchange
  • 3.5% will eliminate their plan
  • 4.7% plan to do nothing


Eligibility is expected to remain steady next year.

  • 7.9% will eliminate coverage for spouses who are eligible for health insurance through their own employer   
  • 6.7% will add a spousal surcharge
  • 1.3% will eliminate coverage for part-time employees
  • 1% will eliminate coverage altogether 

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