What’s annoying employers most about the ACA now?

 In Affordable Care Act, HR Issues

Recently, employers were asked which part of the ACA they most want to see changed. And in what’s likely to be a surprise to many, the No. 1 answer wasn’t the employer mandate. 

Although 70% of the 644 employers surveyed said they’d like to see the employer mandate repealed, it still wasn’t the highest vote-getter.

What was? Repealing the excise or “Cadillac” tax. All told, 86% of employers said eliminating the tax on high-cost health plans was atop their “Wish List” of the things they’d like to see done to the ACA.

The survey was conducted by the consulting firm Mercer.

So the top five changes employers would like to see to the ACA looked like this (employers could place multiple votes):

  1. Eliminate the excise or “Cadillac” tax — 86%.
  2. Repeal the employer mandate — 70%.
  3. Change the definition of a full-time equivalent employee to one who works 40 hours per week — 66%.
  4. Repeal and replace the ACA entirely — 54%.
  5. Repeal the individual mandate –51%.

Just missing the top five was: Allowing the use of stand-alone HRAs to purchase individual coverage — 51% (it received fewer “strongly favor” votes than did repeal the individual mandate).

The biggest impact?

When asked about the impact of the ACA on their organizations, employers said it:

  • created a significant administrative burden — 84% (with 51% saying the burden was “very significant”)
  • resulted in making unwanted plan design changes to avoid the excise tax — 29%, and
  • generated higher costs — 20%.

Has enrollment changed?

Employers were also asked if their health plan enrollment had changed as a result of the employer mandate, and the results closely mirror reports from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO):

  • “No” — 74%
  • “Yes,” an increase — 22%, and
  • “Yes,” a decrease — 4%.

The CBO has reported there’s been virtually no change in the number of employees enrolling in company-sponsored health coverage as a result of the ACA.

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