Mid- and large-sized companies overwhelmingly expect health-care costs to increase under Obamacare—and most are eyeing possible changes to their health insurance offerings because of a looming excise tax for pricier plans under the health-care reform law, a new survey of employers finds.
In fact, 40 percent of 420 companies surveyed by Towers Watson said they will be changing their insurance plans' designs in 2014 in light of the coming excise tax as well as to control employee-related health costs.
And nearly 60 percent of the companies view private health insurance exchanges as a possible way to control their health-care and administrative costs by shifting the work of insuring their workers off to those exchanges in the future.
But most of those companies—which collectively employ 8.7 million people—don't have firm near-term plans to do so.
The study also found those same companies are increasingly unlikely to offer their employer-sponsored plan for retirees older than age 65 as Obamacare state insurance exchanges go into effect, and as Medicare remains available to those people.
The number of employers either very or somewhat likely to discontinue such plans for those retirees grows from 25 percent in 2014 to 44 percent in 2015, according to Towers Watson, the global professional services company, which released its study Wednesday.
But the same study found a very strong majority of those companies—82 percent—see their ability to offer subsidized health benefits to existing workers as an "important" as part of their "employee value proposition" for 2014, according to the study.
And 98 percent of the employers have no definite plans to discontinue health-care coverage in 2014 and 2015 and direct their full-time workers to the state health insurance exchanges.