Businesses Slow to Adopt Health-Care Reform Requirements

The Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act caused changes for all Americans, but perhaps businesses were most affected. New research, however, has found that a majority of those businesses have not taken the steps necessary to meet the requirements of the law set to take effect in 2014.

Businesses did not make a decision on what to do because they were waiting for the Supreme Court to rule on the Affordable Care Act. Now that the law has been upheld, 40 percent of businesses said they will begin taking action to become compliant.  Another 16 percent said they will wait until after the election in November to start making changes.

The initial delay by employers now has many businesses worrying about what they need to do to comply with the law. Almost half of the respondents said that the excise tax on high-cost plans set to go into effect in 2018 is their top concern of the new law. An additional 28 percent of respondents were worried about the part of the law requiring employees working more than 30 hours a week to be eligible for health-care coverage.

"Employers with large part-time populations, such as retailers and health-care organizations, are faced with the difficult choice of either increasing the number of employees eligible for coverage, or changing their work force strategy so that employees work fewer hours," said David Rahill, president of the health and benefits business at human resources consulting firm Mercer, which conducted the research. “With the average cost of health coverage now exceeding $10,000 per employee, a big jump in enrollment is not economically feasible for many employers."

[Supreme Court Health Care Decision: What it Means to Small Businesses]

One way businesses are looking for help with costs is by pursuing other health benefit management strategies.  More than half of the respondents to the survey said they would be pursuing such strategies to keep costs down.

The information in this research was based on a poll of more than 4,000 employees.

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