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Employers “Bracing” for Higher Health Care Costs

In the 2008 presidential campaign, then-candidate Barack Obama unveiled a plan for health care reform to “lower costs to make our health care system work for people and businesses…” However, according to a recent business survey, many employers don’t believe the plan that was promised is the plan that was delivered.

Many employers are bracing for higher health care costs resulting from compliance with health reform mandates that take effect with the 2011 plan year. According to a survey of nearly 800 employers released today by Mercer, the cost impact will range from moderate to severe, depending on the employer’s circumstances. 

“Mercer surveyed 791 employers this month about whether they expect Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) rules will cause costs to rise in 2011, and if so, by how much. One-fourth of respondents said that compliance with the first round of PPACA mandates will add at least another 3% to their projected 2011 plan costs, with about one in ten expecting an additional 5% or more.

(Mercer, “One in four employers expect health reform’s  2011 requirements to add 3% or more to next year’s costs,” 5/20/2010) 

What will this mean for America’s workers? As Dr. John Goodman, president and CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis, notes in today’s Wall Street Journal: “Millions of American workers could discover that they no longer have employer-provided health insurance as ObamaCare is phased in. That's because employers are quickly discovering that it may be cheaper to pay fines to the government than to insure workers.”  

At a time when unemployment continues to hover around 10 percent, even those Americans who are lucky enough to have a job may soon find that job no longer provides the health care on which they and their families rely. ObamaCare: higher costs, lost coverage, and broken promises.