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Mercer

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We’ve been tracking the growth of consumer-directed health plans in our national survey for years.  Now policymakers in Washington are signaling interest in liberalizing health savings account rules, intensifying the focus on high-deductible plans that would be eligible for an HSA. While the majority of large employers already offer CDHPs – among the largest they are nearly ubiquitous – most often they are offered as a choice, not as the only medical plan. Building enrollment in a CDHP offered as a choice has proven to be challenging, but it can be done. In this infographic, we present survey findings that should be of interest both to employers thinking about a full replacement strategy and to those committed to offering a CDHP as a choice but looking to encourage more employees who could benefit to make the move. 

 

 

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While some provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) went into effect in 2014, other significant changes are yet to come. Mercer’s latest Health Care Reform Survey — the seventh conducted since 2008 — shows that US employers are actively planning for the employer shared responsibility provisions that take effect in 2015. The survey includes responses from 767 US employers.

 

“While many employers are in compliance with the shared responsibility requirements of the Affordable Care Act, a substantial portion chose to wait until 2015 to expand eligibility,” said Beth Umland, Director of Employer Research for Health and Benefits at Mercer. “Not surprisingly, many of those waiting to extend coverage to employees who work 30 or more hours per week are organizations that will be the most affected. But there are ways to mitigate the impact, and organizations still have time to make changes for 2015 that could make a big difference in the cost of compliance.”

 

Learn about the issues US employers are facing as reform measures take effect, and how they are responding.

 

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While the penalties associated with the shared responsibility provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) were delayed until 2015, many key elements of the new law went into effect in 2014 — most notably the opening of public health exchanges and the individual mandate requiring all individuals to obtain health coverage or face a tax penalty. Mercer’s latest Health Care Reform Survey — the seventh conducted since 2008 — assesses how employer plans and open enrollment results have been affected. The survey includes responses from 767 US employers. 

 

“With most employers waiting to expand coverage eligibility, in 2014 enrollment growth came down to whether employees who had chosen to forgo coverage in the past would respond to the individual mandate,” said Tracy Watts, Mercer’s leader for US health care reform. “That’s a small number of employees to begin with, and what we discovered is that the initial tax penalty wasn’t big enough to convince many to sign up.”

 

Learn about enrollment trends and the issues US employers are facing as reform measures take effect.

 

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Private exchanges represent a new way to provide employer-sponsored benefits that is advantageous to both employers and employees. A well-designed private exchange allows an employer to better manage costs while delivering greater flexibility and choice to its workforce, so interest in them is high, according to Mercer’s latest National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans. In fact, a sizeable share of US employers expects to move to a private exchange within the next two to five years.

 

“Private exchanges have generated an enormous amount of interest in a short time. Our research shows that one-fourth of US employers are considering switching to a private exchange in just two years, while 45% would consider moving to an exchange in five years,” says Eric Grossman, Mercer Marketplace US Active Exchange Business Leader.

 

Among the diverse group of employers that moved to Mercer Marketplace in 2014, simplified administration and current/future cost control are the top reasons given for the move, he notes.

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