Tag Archives: SHOP

Survey: Employers expect health benefits to cost more; small companies consider dropping coverage

Image courtesy of Mercer

Image courtesy of Mercer
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Here are two issues to watch in the coming year: How many employers will drop health insurance coverage in the next five years and how much will employers’ health benefit costs rise in 2014?

These issues jumped out from the results of the annual survey by benefits consultant Mercer. Within five years, 31 percent of small employers believe they will drop health insurance coverage, the survey showed. Mercer defines small employers as having 10 to 499 workers. The 31 percent level is up from the 22 percent of responding small employers who said last year they planned to drop health insurance coverage and up from the 19 percent who said they would drop health benefits in 2011, Mercer said.

Beth Umland, Mercer’s director of research for health and benefits, offered more detail. “While 31 percent of employers with 10 to 499 employees say it’s likely they will terminate, when we look at just those companies with 50 to 499 employees, that number falls to 21 percent,” she said. “The smaller the employer, the more likely they are to say they will drop. Continue reading

Oregon reaches out to small businesses to clear up reform confusion

If you had to draw up a list of the five or six states that are likely to have a – relatively – successful launch of the health care exchanges (AKA marketplaces) this fall, Oregon would be one of them.

Gov. John Kitzhaber, a former emergency physician who has done a lot of work on health system delivery reform and quality improvement, is committed to the law’s success, as is much of the state’s political world. Oregon had already been experimenting with coverage expansion, in part through Medicaid. The state is running its own exchange and has already started outreach. On Twitter and online at least the opening ads have been a hit.

While most of the attention is on the individual exchanges, SHOP exchanges also will offer a place for small businesses to get coverage for their workers. Those with up to 50 workers can choose to cover them and certain small businesses may qualify for tax credits to subsidize coverage. Note – this voluntary. These small businesses do NOT have to cover workers, not now and not when the delayed employer mandate begins in January u 2015. Continue reading