Many employers use brokers and advisors to help them navigate the complexities of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). But how much do brokers, advisors and health care purchasing consultants really know about the ground-breaking law?
Quite a bit. At least, that’s the perception employers have, a Guardian Life survey has found.
Nearly one in two — 49 percent — of employers said they perceive their broker to be “very knowledgeable” about the ACA and 29 percent of employers said their broker is “somewhat knowledgeable” about the law, the survey found.
Another 8 percent of employers said their broker is only “a little” knowledgeable and 2 percent of the respondents said their broker isn’t knowledgeable at all. In addition, 7 percent of employers surveyed said they don’t have an advisor, the survey found.
The third annual Guardian Workplace Benefits Study of 1,001 employee benefits decision-makers was conducted online last fall.
Critics of the ACA have pilloried the health law as burdensome and expensive.
Supporters point to the law as good public policy. So far, 10 million previously uninsured lives have been covered for health insurance under the ACA.
Brokers and advisors play a key role in helping employers choose plans and deciding what coverage options should be made available to employees.
The Guardian survey revealed that 25 percent of employers said their brokers take the lead in presenting at benefit meetings. However, employers said they want even more support with educating workers in choosing employer-sponsored benefits.
Employees said health benefits changes are among the most important topics employers can help them with.
“Brokers and carriers are needed to play a strategic role in helping employers navigate the ACA and in identifying the best options for how they can move forward in a changed benefits landscape,” Ray Marra, senior vice president, Group Products at Guardian, said in a news release.
Many employers and employees will see single-digit increases in their health insurance premiums in 2016. This is occurring as insurance carriers readjust their business models to take the law’s requirements into account, according to studies from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Of the employers considering a switch to a health insurance exchange, 54 percent said they would move to a private exchange and 46 percent said they would offer plans from a state or federal exchange, the Guardian survey also found.
One in three employers expects to outsource more elements of their benefits program because of the ACA. About 20 percent of employers expect to offer benefits on a private exchange, and 50 percent of businesses who said they are planning to self-insure said they expect to carry stop-loss insurance, the survey also found.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Writer Cyril Tuohy has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at [email protected].
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