ACA–Year in Review

By: Neil Mrkvicka​​

In anticipation of next week’s release of 2014 Employer-Sponsored Health Care: ACA’s Impact survey results, let’s look back at some of the key findings of last year’s survey.

Each year since the Affordable Car​e Act​​ (ACA) was enacted in 2010, the Foundation has surveyed organizations to uncover actions they have taken, with emphasis on the progress they have made since ACA’s implementation, and their future plans to respond to health care reform. The surveys examine some of the following topic areas: overall status and approach, cost impact, health insurance exchanges and reactions to specific provisions potentially impacting health care benefit costs. 

6.5_ACA Year.jpgThe 2013 survey revealed the vast majority of organizations had moved beyond a wait-and-see approach (90%), and more organizations were beginning to model the financial impact of ACA and develop tactics to deal with the implications of reform. ​​​

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Providing coverage vs. the exchanges
The vast majority of organizations said they plan to continue providing coverage when exchanges open, and that portion increased from 2012 to 2013. We ask this again on this year’s survey—Stay tuned to see how these figures may have changed.ContinuingCoverage aca 13 blog.png

Cost impact and reactions
While the impact of ACA varied from one employer to the next, it was generally agreed the law will increase plan costs in the short term. Most organizations were estimating a 3-4% cost increase over the next year due to ACA. Estimates of cost increases directly associated with ACA increased from 2012 to 2013. Check back next week to see where cost trends are moving for 2014 and beyond.​

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Employers had implemented and planned to continue to implement a range of cost-management initiatives due to ACA, most commonly increasing participants’ share of premium costs, increasing in-network deductibles, increasing out-of-pocket limits and increasing the employee portion of dependent coverage costs. Employers were increasing their emphasis on wellness initiatives and incentives due to the impact of ACA. A considerable portion of employers were increasing or considering increasing emphasis on high-deductible health plans (HDHPs), particularly with health savings accounts (HSAs) attached. 

​​[Related: ACA Uni​versity​your source for essential information needed to work through the changes ACA brings to the industry ]​

Things to look for in the 2014 Employer-Sponsored Health Care: ACA’s Impact Survey

  • Will the portion of employers saying they will continue providing coverage ​change?
  • What is the ACA cost impact for 2014, and what types of changes are organizations making to manage costs associated with ACA?
  • How are organizations communicating with employees about ACA, and how are employees reacting?

What trends do you predict for the future? Make your prediction in the comments below and check back next week to see how the 2014 survey results compare. Hint: You might be surprised at the actions organizations are taking to rein in costs in 2014 compared to past years. . . .

 

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