The health-care reform law may push employer-provided health insurance out of financial reach for some people. One of the unintended consequences of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act recently pushed through Congress is that 38% of the nation’s employers may find that they have some employees unable to afford their health care.
"More than a third of the nation’s employers – 38% – have at least some employees for whom coverage would be considered ‘unaffordable,’” according to an annual employer health plan survey by consulting firm Mercer.
Broken down further, 31% of companies with 500 or more employees will have some employees unable to afford coverage, while 20% of employers with over 20,000 employees will face this situation, according to the survey.
Other hurdles these companies will have to consider include using plans that have no lifetime caps on coverage and require no co-payments on preventative care, said Willis. We could see benefits like 401(k) matching affected as these companies find ways to save costs amid rising health-care expenses, she added.
Would small businesses simply dump these employees onto the taxpayer’s dime to avoid the costs? This still remains a big but important question, as businesses are still sorting through the massive law to see how it will impact them, said Willis.
Meanwhile, Health and Human Services reported last week that while the health-reform law will expand health insurance coverage to 34 million more people, national health-care spending will actually increase because of it, not decrease, as the White House has repeatedly said. By how much? $311 billion in the next 10 years, according to HHS, driving total spending during that time to over $35 trillion.
But what HHS also found was that 14 million people with employer-sponsored coverage would lose it, as employers won’t take on the additional costs.