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Few Health Care Organizations Expect to Drop Health Plans

August 12, 2011
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Related Topics: Benefit Design and Communication, Health and Wellness, Health Care Benefits, Latest News
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Only a small percentage of health care organizations say they are seriously considering eliminating their health care plans because of the health care reform, according to a survey released Aug. 11.

Just 8 percent of respondents, which include health care systems, hospitals and long- and short-term-care facilities, said they would “very seriously” consider the elimination of their health care plans in the future because of the health care reform law, while 20 percent would consider it and 57 percent would not consider it. The remaining 14 percent responding to the survey by Buck Consultants of New York City didn’t know what their organization’s future plans would be.

Those findings track closely with other surveys. For example, last year, consultant Mercer in New York City found that 6 percent of employers with at least 500 employees and 20 percent of employers with 10 to 499 employees said it was likely they would drop coverage in 2014. A majority of organizations responding to the Buck Consultants survey have at least 500 employees.

Nearly half—46 percent —of respondents said the primary reason they wouldn’t drop coverage is because doing so would make their organizations uncompetitive in hiring and retaining employees. Twenty-two percent said dropping coverage would be inconsistent with their role as a health care provider, while 21 percent said offering coverage is important to maintain a healthy and productive workforce. Most respondents said the health care reform law increased their costs this year.

For example, 42 percent said they expect the law to boost their costs by 1 percent to 3 percent in 2011, while 37 percent are anticipating costs to rise by more than 3 percent.

On the other hand, 16 percent expect that the law will not have an impact on their health care plan costs this year.

Over the long term, 39 percent expect the law to significantly increase their health care plan costs, and 32 percent expect their costs to increase somewhat. Just 9 percent expect their costs to decrease somewhat, while 2 percent expect a significant reduction in costs, and 3 percent don’t expect the law to impact their health care plan costs.

For the nation as a whole, 43 percent of respondents expect the law will significantly increase health care costs, 32 percent expect costs to increase somewhat, and 16 percent said the law will result in somewhat reduced costs.

The survey is based on the responses of 235 professionals working for health care organizations.   

Filed by Jerry Geisel of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, email editors@workforce.com.

 

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