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WITH SUPREME COURT RULING, MOST COMPANIES BEGIN TO IMPLEMENT PPACA REGULATIONS

July 5, 2012

Although employer reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act (PPACA), the 2010 law overhauling the nation’s health care system has been mixed, most plan to continue to offer health care benefits after 2014, according to results released on June 29th by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.

A majority (76.5%) of employers responding to the survey said they are very likely to, or definitely will, provide coverage to employees after 2014, while 2% of respondents indicated they definitely will not provide coverage in 2014.

4% of respondents said they currently do not offer health care, but 58% of those employers said they are
very likely to, or will provide coverage beginning in 2014.

In a 5-4 decision handed down June 28, the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate that is the centerpiece of the PPACA. The mandate, which takes effect in 2014, will require virtually all U.S. citizens to obtain health care insurance or pay a penalty.

46% of respondents said the best outcome would have been for the court to completely throw PPACA out, while 41% said
the best decision would have been to uphold the law, IFEBP said. In addition, 12% of those responding would have preferred that the court throw out the individual mandate, IFEBP said. IFEBP collected data from 1,122 plan administrators, trustees, and organizational representatives.

The survey found that many employers have kept current with PPACA’s provisions and also are prepared to implement provisions that have yet to take effect.

According to an executive summary of the survey results, 78% of respondents indicated that they are “extremely far
or very far along in terms of keeping current” with PPACA provisions, and 60% are “extremely or very far along with preparing for future provisions.”

Following the Supreme Court’s decision, employers are ready to move past their wait-and-see approach toward implementation of PPACA, IFEBP found, with 56% saying they are comfortable shifting gears to full implementation.

Respondents indicated that they will now shift their focus to wellness programs (49%), consumer-driven health plans (32%), shifting costs to employees (27%), and value-based health care (26%), IFEBP said.  07-04-2012