Survey: Employees unfamiliar with ACA but believe insurance costs will rise

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform. He welcomes questions and suggestions and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

About 60 percent of workers at large U.S. companies are unfamiliar with the Affordable Care Act, according to a survey released last week by the National Business Group on Health (NBGH). Only 38 percent of employees responding to the survey – which was done last summer – were aware of the creation of public health insurance exchanges, for example.

The NBGH survey of 1,525 employees who work for employers with more than 2,000 workers also showed that 54 percent of respondents expect that they will pay more for health insurance coverage in the next 12 months, as Jerry Geisel reported at Business Insurance. The employees believed the added premium costs will cover health plan improvements mandated under the ACA, Geisel wrote.

Some 32 percent of responding employees believed that the quality of their health care benefits will drop under the ACA, as Andy Stonehouse reported in Employee Benefits News.

While only about 40 percent of respondent employees were familiar with the ACA itself, more respondents were familiar with some of the law’s specific provisions, the survey showed. Among responding employees, 69 percent were somewhat familiar with the requirement that individuals must have or purchase health insurance, and 63 percent knew that employers with at least 50 workers must offer insurance to full-time employees.

The survey, “Employer Perspectives on the Future of Health Benefits and Health Care Delivery,” was done online via ResearchNow. Mathew Greenwald & Associates drafted the questionnaire, collected the data, and prepared the report, NBGH said. The employees completed the survey from July 30 to August 8. Respondents were between the ages of 22 and 69 and receive their health benefits through an employer or union. During a presentation at the National Press Club on Oct. 22, NBGH President and CEO Helen Darling acknowledged that since Oct. 1, when ACA enrollment began, more employees are likely to be more familiar with the law and its provisions.

Some of the survey results are available as a PDF.

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