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Industryweek 9251 Doctor And Patient

No Employer-Sponsored Healthcare? That Could Be a Dealbreaker

Aug. 11, 2015
Three in four employees see health insurance as a primary or important factor for continuing to work at their current employer, according to a new survey by management consulting firm Accenture.

With the Cadillac tax -- a 40% excise tax on high-cost employer healthcare -- looming in 2018, some employers may be thinking of scrapping their group plans altogether and sending employees to the exchanges for their insurance. According to a new survey by management consulting firm Accenture, employers will want to think long and hard before doing that, and educate their employees about the other options out there -- because traditional employer-sponsored health plans are still highly valued.

In March, Accenture surveyed 2,709 people who receive group health insurance through their employer or other affiliation, or through their spouse or domestic partner. Employees hailed from a cross-section of industries, demographics and company sizes. Both full- and part-time employees participated in the survey.

Here are some of the findings:

  • 82% of respondents are satisfied with their existing employer-sponsored insurance
  • 76% see health insurance as a primary or important factor for continuing to work at their current employer
  • 94% are confident that their employer will continue to provide health insurance

All told, 15% of the survey respondents said they would leave their jobs immediately if they no longer received health insurance through a group plan at work. Thirty-one percent said they would plan to leave within 12 months, and 32% said they would be less motivated to work hard.

Hypothetical coverage scenarios were randomly assigned to survey respondents. Some were sent to private marketplaces, some public exchanges, and some were told they would have to find it on their own, through online searches or through an insurance company.  Employer support—complete, partial, and none—was also randomly assigned. If their employer dropped the group plan, 82% of respondents said they would actively seek out a new health insurance plan.

But three out of four respondents said that in the absence of a group plan at work, they preferred to get insurance from an employer-curated individual marketplace rather than either a public exchange or shopping for insurance on their own.

Employers should be aware that employee expectations may not reflect health insurance realities: Less than 1% of respondents said they expect to lose coverage in the future.  

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