Slowing health care reform would be welcome, mid-size employers say

By BenefitsPro

By Amanda McGrory-Dixon

More mid-size employers say stepping back from health care reform would greatly improve their economic forecasts for the next year, according to a study by Deloitte Development L.L.C.

In fact, 41 percent of employers agree with this sentiment, up from 33 percent in 2012 and 23 percent in 2011.

“Rolling back health care reform ranked a very close second to reducing corporate tax rates as the most popular initiative the U.S. government could implement to help middle-market companies grow in the coming year,” the study said.

Larger companies appear to be more resigned to implementation of the Affordable Care Act than smaller companies, the study found, with only 38 percent of companies with 1,000 to 3,000 employees ranking health care rollback as one of their top two government priorities, compared to 53 percent of companies with 50 to 99 employees that ranked it as a top priority.

Compliance costs are especially of concern. While 71 percent of respondents believe compliance costs will rise, 41 percent of respondents anticipate high growth that exceeds other regulatory requirements.

Overall, reductions have been seen when it comes to year-over-year health care cost increases; however, 60 percent of mid-size employers report that medical costs are the biggest barriers to their economic growth. This is up from 51 percent in 2012 and 33 percent in 2011.

As part of health care reform, employers with more than 50 full-time workers must offer qualified, affordable group health plans to their employees in 2014 or pay a penalty. More than a quarter of respondents say they plan to hire more part-time and contract workers in 2013 and 2014, and of the employers expecting to bring in more part-time and contract workers, 38 percent say they anticipate doing so specifically because of health care reform.

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