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Survey Shows Many Employers Not Waiting Until November Elections to Implement ACA Reforms

From the National Business Coalition on Health: A recent Mercer survey of 4,000 employers, conducted the week after the Supreme Court's ruling on the Affordable Care Act, revealed that a majority said they had been waiting for the Court's decision before developing a strategy to respond to the law’s provisions slated to go into effect in 2014 and beyond. While 40% said they will begin taking action now that the court has ruled, another 16% said they will continue to wait until after the November elections.

Employers must act quickly to implement new requirements for 2012 and 2013, such as providing benefit summary disclosures, complying with new dollar limits on health care flexible spending arrangements, and increased Medicare withholding for high earners. But the rules going into effect in 2014 that are aimed at expanding access will have broader implications for many employers.

More than a fourth of survey respondents (28%) said that compliance with the new requirement that employees working an average of 30 or more hours per week must be eligible for coverage will present a “significant challenge” for their organization.

The requirement to auto-enroll newly eligible employees in a health plan – which means that employees will automatically be covered unless they take action to opt-out – is also expected to increase the rolls of the insured for many employers. Nearly one-third (29%) of respondents to the Mercer survey said this will be a significant challenge, especially because other provisions of the law will limit the amount of health plan costs employers can pass along to employees through higher premiums or deductibles.

Still, the provision that has the most employers worried – 47% of survey respondents – is the excise tax on high-cost plans, expected to go into effect in 2018. 

Read MBGH's comments on how Memphis-area employers are reacting to the Supreme Court's ruling.

Posted by Cristie Travis at 8:12 AM

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