HRO Today April 2016 - 52

The Mercer Report
Private Exchanges Remain on Top
Organizations large and small continue to see the value of
offering employees healthcare coverage.
By Michael DiSimone
Earlier this year, the Congressional Budget Offi ce (COB)
signifi cantly reduced its estimate of how many people in the
U.S. would get health insurance in 2016 through the public
exchanges from 21 million to 13 million. This was important
news, but it didn't get a lot of attention amidst the more
sensational noise of the White House race. Yet, as the New
York Times pointed out, the lower estimate was at least partly
because employers are not dropping health insurance plans at
the rate that CBO analysts initially expected.
Indeed, government projections for employer coverage were
based on the assumption that employers would fi nd it less
expensive than continuing their own plans in the wake of the
Affordable Care Act's requirements. Employers who no longer
offer health coverage would pay a $2,000 per employee penalty
and would likely need to boost employees' salaries to help offset
premiums employees would pay for coverage in exchanges. But
that $2,000 penalty is not tax deductible and the gross increase
in pay also has tax implications for employees. In some scenarios,
the employer pays more or runs the risk of employee backlash.
Through its annual Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health
Plans, Mercer has been tracking employers' intentions about
terminating plans since 2008. The research showed that very few
large employers seriously contemplated dropping their plans.
However, small employers are less likely to offer coverage to
begin with, and in the early years of healthcare reform, about
20 percent of health plan sponsors with between 50 and 499
employees said they were likely or very likely to drop coverage
within fi ve years. That number began to fall in 2014, when the
public exchanges became operational, and fell even further in
2015, to just 7 percent. This is close to the percentage of large
employers that say they are likely to drop coverage (5 percent in
2015).
Why are small employers changing their minds about dropping
coverage? Probably for many of the same reasons that large
employers didn't see it as a good option from the beginning,
even though smaller employers offer less generous coverage,
have lower average costs, and realize higher annual increases
than larger employers. While it can be tough to keep health
benefi t costs within their fi nancial comfort zone, smaller
organizations have been able to manage it, so far.
More to the point, perhaps, Mercer's recent Inside Employees'
Minds survey of employee attitudes found that 89 percent
of US employees say getting health benefi ts through work is
[52]
HRO TODAY MAGAZINE | APRIL 2016
just as important to them as getting a salary. This proves that
employees consider benefi ts a huge part of the overall value
proposition, and employers need to keep this in mind as they
seek to attract and retain top talent.
Fortunately, both large and small employers have greater
options and better tools, now that the ACA era of healthcare
reform is upon them. For example, rather than drop healthcare
coverage and push employees to the public exchanges,
increasing numbers of employers are taking advantage of
the availability of private healthcare exchanges. These thirdparty
marketplaces not only relieve employers of the burden
of benefi ts administration, they also provide employees with
a seamless online platform for healthcare enrollment-often
with a wider range of plan choices, as well as access to voluntary
benefi ts and other options.
Organizations can also take advantage of the rise of online
calculation and comparison tools that help employees make
better choices for themselves and their families. It's one thing for
employers to encourage their workforce to be better and wiser
consumers of healthcare-and the mainstreaming of wellness
programs, onsite clinics, and mail-order pharmaceuticals
certainly helps-but it's another thing to become a wellinformed
consumer of healthcare, given the complicated array
of deductibles and co-pay options. Online access to clear,
reliable, easy-to-use estimating tools goes a long way toward
molding smart consumers.
These tools also go hand-in-hand with employee education
about healthcare and insurance needs. But at a time when there
are more options to consider, from basic healthcare to critical
disease coverage, employers should expect and demand welldesigned
and well-delivered information - across platforms,
including tablets and mobile devices - from their providers.
The simple fact that employers are not dropping health
insurance plans at the CBO's expected rate affi rms the
traditional value of such benefi ts to organizations and their
workers. The challenge for employers is to keep up with the
pace of change, ensuring a sustainable workforce for the future
and playing a positive role in the health, wealth, and career of
today's-and tomorrow's-employees.
Michael DiSimone is Mercer Services' global health delivery leader.

HRO Today April 2016

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of HRO Today April 2016

HRO Today April 2016 - 1
HRO Today April 2016 - 2
HRO Today April 2016 - 3
HRO Today April 2016 - 4
HRO Today April 2016 - 5
HRO Today April 2016 - 6
HRO Today April 2016 - 7
HRO Today April 2016 - 8
HRO Today April 2016 - 9
HRO Today April 2016 - 10
HRO Today April 2016 - 11
HRO Today April 2016 - 12
HRO Today April 2016 - 13
HRO Today April 2016 - 14
HRO Today April 2016 - 15
HRO Today April 2016 - 16
HRO Today April 2016 - 17
HRO Today April 2016 - 18
HRO Today April 2016 - 19
HRO Today April 2016 - 20
HRO Today April 2016 - 21
HRO Today April 2016 - 22
HRO Today April 2016 - 23
HRO Today April 2016 - 24
HRO Today April 2016 - 25
HRO Today April 2016 - 26
HRO Today April 2016 - 27
HRO Today April 2016 - 28
HRO Today April 2016 - 29
HRO Today April 2016 - 30
HRO Today April 2016 - 31
HRO Today April 2016 - 32
HRO Today April 2016 - 33
HRO Today April 2016 - 34
HRO Today April 2016 - 35
HRO Today April 2016 - 36
HRO Today April 2016 - 37
HRO Today April 2016 - 38
HRO Today April 2016 - 39
HRO Today April 2016 - 40
HRO Today April 2016 - 41
HRO Today April 2016 - 42
HRO Today April 2016 - 43
HRO Today April 2016 - 44
HRO Today April 2016 - 45
HRO Today April 2016 - 46
HRO Today April 2016 - 47
HRO Today April 2016 - 48
HRO Today April 2016 - 49
HRO Today April 2016 - 50
HRO Today April 2016 - 51
HRO Today April 2016 - 52
HRO Today April 2016 - 53
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-chro-today-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-november-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-may-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-march-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-july-august-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-january-february-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-april-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-september-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-october-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-june-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-december-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/chro-today-2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-may-2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-april-2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-september-2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-october-2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-november-2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-march-2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-june-2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-january-february-2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-july-august-2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-december-2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-september-2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-october-2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-november-2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-march-2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-june-2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-july-august-2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-january-february-2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-may-2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-december-2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-april-2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-september-2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-october-2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-december-2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-november-2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-may-2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-march-2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-june-2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-january-february-2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-july-august-2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-april-2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-october-2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-november-2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-july-august-2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-september-2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-june-2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-april-2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-july-august-2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-november-2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-october-2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-december-2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-january-february-2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-june-1014
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-may-2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hro-today-april-2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/sharedxpertise/sharedxpertise/hrot-january-february-2014
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com