Employers firm up health insurance benefit plans for 2014

As more aspects of the ACA take effect, physicians can look forward to most patients not having to change health plans because of employer actions.

By — Posted June 10, 2013

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

More employers will continue offering insurance to their workers rather than dropping it as a benefit and make them seek out individual plans on state-level health insurance exchanges as fuller implementation of the Affordable Care Act nears.

That means physicians can expect that most of their patients will maintain the same health insurance coverage in the near future that they do now, according to an employee benefits survey.

The International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans reported in May that only about 10% of employers were still taking a “wait-and-see approach” regarding how the ACA will play out. That’s a change from 2012, when about 30% were in the wait-and-see mode. Last year, nearly half of employers said they would offer coverage; in 2013, that figure rose to nearly 70%.

A smaller percentage of employers said they “definitely won’t” offer coverage. That figure dropped from about 1% in 2012 to 0.5% in 2013. Those that said they would be “very unlikely” to offer such coverage in 2012 decreased from 1.4% in 2012 to 0.5% in 2013.

Small businesses stick with coverage

Even small employers said they would continue coverage. About 60% of employers with fewer than 51 workers plan to offer insurance in 2014, compared with nearly 70% of larger employers. An additional 23.7% of small employers said they very likely would offer insurance, compared with 25.2% of large employers. Companies with at least 50 employees must offer some form of health insurance or face a penalty.

“The decisions were made, the November [2012] election is over, the balance of power is not changing, and that gave employers the sense that the law is going to stay in place,” said Julie Stich, director of research for the International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans. “And they have to figure out what that means, and they have decided to keep coverage.”

Participants in the survey were single employer plans in the databases of the International Foundation and the International Society of Certified Employee Benefits Specialists. Responses came from about 960 human resources and benefits professional and industry experts.

The reason that employers are continuing to offer insurance is because it’s a great tool to retain and attract top talent, said Katy Votava, PhD, president of Goodcare, a health care services and financial consulting firm.

“We deal with a lot of small and medium-sized companies, and they really want to do good for their employees because they want to be competitive,” she said. “The Affordable Care Act is here to stay, and if [employers] want to stay in business they have to value their employees, and that means they have to take care of them.”

Back to top

External links

“2013 Employer-Sponsored Health Care: ACA’s Impact,” International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, May (link)

Back to top



Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story

Read story


American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story

Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story

Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story

Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story

Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story

Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story

Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story

  • Stay informed
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • LinkedIn