What can businesses expect in the first year of the employer mandate?

Aon Hewitt in Lincolnshire, Illinois, makes these predictions:

More alternatives. A small but growing number of employers are offering group-based health benefits to active employees through private health exchanges.

Rick Lindquist, president of Zane Benefits Inc. in Murray, Utah, recommends this strategy for many businesses.

“If employers are subject to the mandate, it may be more affordable to terminate insurance, pay the penalties and let employees pick the plan they want,” he says. “Switching from corporate to individual plans can save between 20 percent and 60 percent.

“This approach requires a lot more analysis, but a company with a lot of lower-wage employees, such as a retailer, may be better off paying the fine.”

Rising costs. Most employers plan to subsidize employees’ health coverage at a similar rate as this year, but as health care costs continue to rise, employees are likely to continue to see higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

More consumer-driven health plan options. Fifteen percent of companies currently offer a CDHP as the only health plan option, and another 42 percent are considering doing so in the next three to five years.

Wellness incentives. Most employers are placing greater emphasis on health and wellness programs that encourage employees to take a more active role in managing their health.

Greater transparency. An increasing number of employers provide decision-support tools that enable employees to model out-of-pocket costs based on anticipated health plan usage or previous claims information.

 

This article was written by Alan Goforth from BenefitsPro and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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