Mercer, a financial services consulting firm, recently published the results of its annual survey of employer-sponsored health plans – delivering more evidence that the President’s government takeover of health care law has failed to make coverage more affordable.
Highlights: National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans
Higher Premiums. The President repeatedly promised the law would reduce premiums by $2,500 per family, on average, during his first term. In reality, the total cost of plans rose by 6.1 percent in 2011 and is expected to rise by 5.7 percent in 2012. Small employers saw health care costs increase by a whopping 9.9 percent.
Higher Taxes. The excise tax on high-cost plans, scheduled to take effect in 2018, is a significant concern for many employers. “Only 39% of employers with 50 or more employees believe their current plans won’t hit the excise tax cost threshold” and nearly all employers “are determined to avoid the tax if they can” – which could mean reducing or eliminating employee coverage. Only 4 percent of employers plan to take no action to avoid the tax.
More Cost-Sharing. As health care costs increase, employers plan to shift more of the burden to employees. Nearly half (47 percent) of all employers intend to shift costs in 2012 “by raising deductibles or the percentage of the premium paid by employees.”
Fewer Options. The law also imposes strict mandates on health insurance plans. Although many employer-sponsored plans are temporarily exempt from these onerous guidelines, “[o]nly about half of all employers (and 37% of large employers) believe they will maintain the grandfathered status of all their health plans until 2014” – meaning many employees who like their current employer-sponsored coverage will lose it. In fact, even the Obama Administration estimates that half of all employers (and as many as 80 percent of small businesses) will be forced to give up their current coverage by 2013 – a clear departure from the President’s oft-repeated promise that “if you like your plan, you can keep it.”
Dropped Coverage. One third of firms have already lost the insurance coverage they had before the President’s government takeover of health care law, and nearly one in five small employers (with 10-499 employees) say they are “very likely” or “likely” to drop coverage beginning in 2014, when the law’s subsidy provisions take effect.