Will beefing up benefits stall top talent exodus?

By BenefitsPro

By Dan Cook

Is your best employee planning to dump you for life as an entrepreneur because of better options provided by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act?

Could be. And there might not be a thing you can do about it—including offering a richer benefits package.

Paul Fronstin, director of health research programs at the Employee Benefit Research Institute, discussed this with Los Angeles journalist Bruce Shutan.

Fronstin noted that millions of employees essentially have been locked into corporate jobs at companies of all sizes in order to maintain health insurance. Some estimates peg the number of nascent PPACA-motivated entrepreneurs at 1.5 million by next year.

Now, he predicted, as many prepare to test themselves in the entrepreneurial realm, thanks to the options available under the act, their bosses today are suddenly aware of the threat.

Wary employers are scrambling to beef up health packages for workers. That’ll be good news for those who stick around. But it may be a futile move if retaining top talent is their goal.

“I think you are already seeing employers move, or at least consider, providing better benefits,” Fronstin told Shutan. “I can make the argument that because of the SHOP exchanges where workers in smaller businesses will have a lot of health plan choices, some larger employers have adopted and many are considering offering a private exchange to provide their workers more choices.”

But employers’ hands are tied by the act when it comes to offer their top dogs better packages. What you offer one employee you must offer the rest, or pay a steep penalty. And, other experts have predicted, the brightest and best may leave anyway to try life in the Fast Company lane.

Andy Hyman, in charge of health coverage programs at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, expects a major exodus of pent-up entrepreneurs from corporations.

“Having access to affordable insurance on the open market is what millions of people need to become their own boss,” he told Insurance News.

Then these new swashbucklers can find out what it’s like to provide coverage for their key employees.

Originally published on BenefitsPro.com