Americans with employer-sponsored health coverage could be facing higher insurance costs in the new year.
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Nearly half of Americans with employer-based coverage report that employers are taking out more from their paychecks each month to pay for their health insurance coverage compared to last year. Bankrate.com ‘s Health Insurance Pulse finds 44% of Americans with insurance through their employer say they have higher out-of-pocket costs including deductibles and copayments due to ObamaCare.
Upper-middle income earners, making between $50,000 and $74,999 annually, are feeling the brunt of the higher costs, according to the report with 47% saying more money is being taken out of their paychecks to cover insurance costs.
Bankrate reports 150 million Americans receive their insurance through an employer. The survey was conducted among 1,005 adults via phone by Princeton Survey Research Associates International.
Brookings Institution visiting fellow Larry Kocot says the survey reflects a movement by employers to shift the responsibility of insurance costs to workers. The employer mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act kicks in in January 2015. Under this provision, every employer in the country with 50 or more full-time workers must offer their employees approved coverage or face a penalty of $2,000 per worker, per year.
“There are a growing number of businesses shifting their costs to employees so it doesn’t surprise me to see these numbers,” Kocot says. “This is to be expected. Employers and larger organizations may take this opportunity to revisit and rethink their benefits strategies. They have to continue to control costs.”
The good news from the survey is that while many feared losing family coverage as a result of the ACA, only one in 10 Americans with employer-based coverage lost insurance for a spouse or child in 2013, the study found. And only 20% of those with employer-based insurance report having fewer doctors in their plan inclusions.
As the law’s open enrollment season enters its third month, the survey finds support for the reform is waning. The survey, which was taken in mid-December, finds 48% of Americans would like to see the law repealed, compared to 38% who want to keep it. This is up from 46% of Americans who wanted to repeal the law in September. Negative feelings on the law outnumber those feeling more positive at a rate of 31% to 15%.
Kocot says approval will continue to shift at different points in the law’s rollout.
“The Obama Administration has taken a lot of hits in the past few weeks,” he says. “The numbers may creep up and down depending on what goes on in the next few weeks, and they are largely driven by events in news cycles.” Under the ACA, every American must have insurance by the end of open enrollment period on April 1 or they will face a fine of $95 a year, or 1% of their annual income, whichever is higher.
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