With the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act less than a year away, many insurance customers have turned to agents with questions about what they'll do for coverage in 2014, as some reports have suggested that employers may decide to stop offering benefits. But according to a recent analysis from Aon Hewitt, companies still intend to make coverage available next year. However, it may come in a slightly different package.
According to the management and consulting services firm nearly 95 percent of the companies polled said they expect to keep their employer-sponsored benefits alive not only in 2014 but for several years thereafter. Come 2019 or 2020, though, organizations may call on their workers to take on a more direct role in their health maintenance, moving away from the traditional "managed trend" approach.
John Zern, executive vice president for Aon Hewitt, indicated that the PPACA is forcing many companies to look into their benefits programs more than they have before, as the health reform law is a rather thorny issue that's hard to navigate.
"The healthcare marketplace is becoming increasingly complex," said Zern. "New models of delivery, new approaches to managing health and new compliance requirements are challenging employers to think differently about their role in owning health insurance responsibilities for employees and their dependents."
He added that employers, for the most part, are remaining in the employer-sponsored benefits marketplace, but want to ensure that the benefits they offer are cost-effective.
Legislators in Congress who are against the PPACA have focused on how the health reform law may impact businesses, as the law requires companies to offer "affordable" coverage to their workers, while those who don't face a penalty. Several members of the House of Representatives and two senators recently introduced a bill that would repeal the employer mandate portion of the law, which they say will give companies greater flexibility.