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Employers Seek Clarity, Stability in Health Insurance Market

Large employers still want to provide health insurance to employees, but transparency, taxes & competition in the ACA marketplace loom over their decisions.

Large employers reveal health insurance concerns

Source: Thinkstock

By Jesse Migneault

- The nation’s largest employers are taking a second look at what type of health insurance they buy, and why.  The American Health Policy Institute (AHPI) surveyed over 400 large companies and found issues of transparency, tax credits and competition among payers topped the list of concerns.

The survey revealed three outstanding concerns of large employers: a desire for transparency from payers over health plan details, clarification of tax regulations, and the role of ACA mandates for coverage. 

Ninety four percent of respondents expressed concern over the lack of transparency from payers on the quality, cost and usefulness of plans.  

The issue of retaining tax credits for companies who provide employees insurance also ranked as a top concern. Large employers are currently allowed to deduct employee insurance premiums from their taxes. 

The uncertainty over future tax policy prompted 94 percent of respondents to cite the erosion or elimination of tax preferred treatment of healthcare as their greatest concern.   

The emergence of the ACA individual healthcare exchanges prompted disagreement over the future of how health insurance is provided. 

The decision for large employers is complicated by the dual systems offering health insurance coverage; the traditional self-insured private market and the ACA individual healthcare exchanges.

The survey indicated that most large employers intend to continue to offer health insurance to their employees, but an overwhelming ninety-one percent would like to see a more robust, competitive ACA individual marketplace. 

Another main point for large employers was flexibility in designing health plans.  Eighty percent of respondents said that they wanted more flexibility and freedom from regulatory requirements to create plans that matched their needs and corporate cultures. 

The ACA mandates minimum essential coverage (MEC) for all health insurance plans, a regulation which limits companies from designing “skinny” plans. 

Across the survey there was interest in developing more standardized benefit plans, particularly for those over 65.   The interest was in being able to grow innovations in efficiencies for healthcare delivery. 

“Because over 170 million Americans depend on employer-provided care, large employers believe policymakers should be focused on removing burdens and disincentives, not creating new ones that could disadvantage such care,” commented AHIP. 


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