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Most Employers to Retain Health Care Benefits, Study Shows

July 29, 2010
Related Topics: Benefit Design and Communication, Health and Wellness, Latest News
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While the vast majority of employers are rethinking their health benefits strategies in response to the passage of federal health care reform law, only a fraction are considering dropping benefits entirely, a survey by Fidelity Investments has revealed.

In a survey of 459 employers conducted June 10-30, Boston-based Fidelity’s benefits consulting group found that 84 percent of employers are taking a close look at their benefit packages in light of the health care reform law.

But when asked whether their organization is seriously thinking about dropping health care benefits, most employers—64 percent—said they were not, though 20 percent indicated they were considering no longer offering health care coverage to their employees.

A larger percentage of small employers, defined as those with 500 or fewer employees, than large employers said they were seriously considering eliminating health care coverage—22 percent versus 14 percent.

Instead, 55 percent of large employers, those with more than 500 employees, said they were considering implementing high-deductible consumer-driven health plans in response to the reform legislation. The percentage of small employers who said they were looking at such plans was 41 percent.

Employers also expressed concerns about the potential cost of the legislation, with 49 percent of smaller employers and 25 percent of larger employers saying they expect it will increase their plan costs significantly in the short term.

“Company executives are taking a close look at their overall benefit strategies in the wake of the new health care reform legislation,” said Sunit Patel, senior vice president of Fidelity’s benefits consulting business, in a statement.

“There is a lot of confusion out there about the real impact of the health care legislation and the accompanying costs,” he said.

Filed by Joanne Wojcik of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.

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