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Healthcare reform may not impact employer health insurance in 2012

Posted On Thu, August 25, 2011

While many companies may have expected to make sweeping changes to their employee benefit packages as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, it seems many businesses will see only moderate change to health insurance policies in 2012, according to Towers Watson.

Many have speculated in recent months that the coming changes will drive some employers to drop their coverage and force employees to look for health insurance quotes in the private market.

In a recent survey, Towers Watson discovered that most employers will only make minimal changes to their worksite benefit plans this year. Furthermore, employee benefit costs are slated to rise only modestly when compared with the increases seen in 2011. While healthcare costs rose 7.6 percent between 2010 and 2011, they are predicted to rise by just 5.9 percent in 2012.

"With so much still unknown regarding both the short- and long-term impact of healthcare reform, most employers will not make wholesale changes to employer-sponsored health plans in 2012," explained Ron Fontanetta of Towers Watson.

While 70 percent of those surveyed expressed skepticism when it came to the viability of health insurance exchanges, but many companies are undecided on whether they will continue to offer the employee benefit to active staff members after the exchanges come into effect in 2014. However, 54 percent state that they will not continue to offer health insurance coverage to retirees, according to the source.

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