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Employers say it will be business as usual in their approaches to health benefits, as they plan for new developments in the coming year due to the Affordable Care Act, according to a survey by the nonprofit Midwest Business Group on Health in collaboration with The Benfield Group. The survey polled employers around the country to gather information on their strategic thinking in planning for 2013-18 to prepare and position their organizations for complying with the Affordable Care Act now that it has been upheld by the Supreme Court.
Key findings include:
* In preparation for the 2018 40 percent excise tax on high-cost "Cadillac" plans, 31 percent of employers indicated they plan to reduce their benefits in 2014-16, with 41 percent responding they will do so for 2017/18.
* Only 9 percent of employers indicated that they planned to participate in state health insurance exchanges when they begin in 2014-16. While there is interest in private health insurance exchanges, at this time only 4 percent believe they will use these for active employee coverage in 201416, while 1 1 percent indicated they will move toward private exchanges for post-65 retirees.
* For the next few years, there is little indication that employers plan to drop health care coverage and provide employees a set amount to buy health care coverage elsewhere.
* Employers responded that 57 percent currently offer consumer directed health plans, such as health savings accounts and health reimbursement accounts, as a plan option and indicated that this would increase to 62 percent in 2013 and 71 percent through 2018.