ACA Repeal – How could it impact Employee Benefits?

No matter which side of the political fence you’re on – whether you are in favor of the Affordable Care Act repeal or not – you know that whatever decisions may be made means big changes to employee benefits, right? Maybe not.

A recent survey by Jellyvision, an employee based communication platform provider, revealed that 61% of employees who rely on employer-based benefits don’t think that repealing the ACA will affect them. Of course this percentage varies depending on which political party they identify with, but that difference is only about 10% between Republicans, Democrats and Independents.

So what does this mean?

Employees really don’t think that a repeal of the ACA will change employers’ minds about providing medical benefits to their employees. This does not mean, however, that employees are not concerned about how the repeal might affect current coverage. 78% are hoping to keep free preventative care in place and 80% of employees hope that preexisting condition coverage will stay.

The reality of the situation is that yes, employers offer benefits to attract and retain top talent. But if no penalty is attached to offering minimum essential coverage, chances are that covered services might change based on the cost to the employer and employee. Covered services that are highly valued by employees such as free preventative care, preexisting condition coverage and coverage for adult children are at risk due to the cost to employers for providing these services in their benefit offerings.

As an employer, what do I do about these concerns?

In the same survey it was found that employees want more education and assistance with choosing benefit packages that are right for them. According to benefitnews.com the survey reports that, “One in five employees often regret their benefit choices, and nearly half said that selecting a health plan is ‘always very stressful.’ Additionally, 55% of employees said they would like more help from their employers when choosing a plan.” Putting together an easily understood benefit package and helping employees make informed decisions about their healthcare is a critical part of showing that an employer cares.

The lesson is this: No matter what the future holds in regards to the Affordable Care Act, we know that changes are coming. Making benefit information more accessible and understandable is a step in the right direction. Keeping employees informed and educated about changes is key.

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