Most employers would keep these provisions of the ACA if it were repealed

Depending on how the presidential election shakes out, the days of the Affordable Care Act may be numbered. However, even if the law is repealed, 78 percent of employers said they would keep at least some of its provisions that they have already implemented in their employee health plans, according to a survey from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.

Based on responses from 446 human resources and benefits professionals, the survey also found employers would like to see a variety of the ACA's provisions reinstated if the law were repealed, including the following.

  • Elimination of preexisting condition exclusions — 38 percent of respondents would like to see this reinstated
  • Coverage of adult children to age 26 — 31 percent
  • Increased wellness incentives — 31 percent

"Employers have seen certain ACA provisions have a positive impact on their workforce," Julie Stich, research director at the International Foundation, said in a press release. "Mandates such as the elimination of preexisting condition exclusions and coverage of children until age 26 have allowed employees and their families to receive healthcare services that have made a positive impact on their physical, financial and emotional well-being."

Most employers said in the survey they have made adjustments to offset increasing costs from the ACA. These include increasing out-of-pocket limits, in-network deductibles or employees' share of premium costs. Just one in ten employers has started using high-deductible health plans as a consequence of the law.

Most employers are either already working on making changes or plan to make changes to avoid the Cadillac tax, a 40 percent excise tax on high-cost employer-based health plans. Just 2 percent of respondents said they plan to pay the tax, according to the report.

To avoid the tax, 43 percent plan to move to high-deductible plans, 42 percent plan to shift costs to their employees, 31 percent plan to drop the luxury plans to which the tax applies and 30 percent plan to reduce benefits. Interestingly, even if the Cadillac tax is repealed, most respondents (68 percent) plan to keep those changes to their employee health plans.

 

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