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Small Business Employee Benefits and HR Blog

Study - Employees Expect Premiums to Rise Alongside Health Reform

Even though polls show the majority of Americans don't understand the inner workings or personal impact of health reform, most employees do believe one thing -- that health reform will increase how much they pay for health insurance over the next several years. And, a third believes the quality of their health care benefits will decline over the next three to five years. This is according to a recent nationwide survey of employees conducted by the National Business Group on Health (NBGH).expect premiums to rise

The survey was conducted from July 30 to August 8, 2013. A total of 1,520 employees at organizations with 2,000 or more employees responded to the survey. Respondents were between the ages of 22 and 69 and receive their health care benefits through their employer or union. Here's a summary of the findings.

54% Expect Health Insurance Premiums Will Increase Next Year

According to the NBGH survey:

  • 54% of respondents believe their health insurance premiums will increase over the next 12 months because of health reform.

  • 56% expect costs to jump over the next three to five years.

  • 32% believe the quality of their health care benefits will decline over the next three to five years.

  • 15% think they won’t be able to afford coverage through their employer or union over the next three to five years.

  • 10% believe their employer or union won’t offer coverage in the future.

Only 40% Understand Health Reform as a Whole, But Most Understand Parts

According to the survey, only 40% of respondents were familiar with health reform as a whole, rather more respondents were familiar with some of it's provisions.

  • 69% were at least somewhat familiar with the individual mandate - the requirement that individuals must have or must purchase insurance, or pay a tax fee.

  • 63% knew that large- and mid-sized employers must offer insurance to full-time employees -- aka the employer mandate.

  • Only 38% were aware of the creation of state health insurance marketplaces... Not too surprising since respondents were employees at large companies, with health insurance provided through their job. And, this survey was taken this summer before mass marketing efforts and media attention about the marketplaces over the last month.

Employees Getting More Confident About Buying Health Insurance on Their Own

The survey also asked about attitudes around buying health insurance on their own and new trends such as private health exchanges.

  • Only 28% of respondents said they are not confident they can shop for health insurance on their own, compared with 37% last year. 

  • However, nearly half (47%) aren’t confident in their ability to purchase the same or better quality health insurance on their own. 

  • 66% of respondents had not heard of a private exchange, though after learning what it is, 52% said they would be somewhat or very interested in purchasing health insurance through a private health exchange if offered by their employer. 

  • 66% said they would shop through a public exchange if offered as a less expensive option. 

The National Business Group on Health (NBGH) is a non-profit association of more than 375 large U.S. employers. For the full survey see NBGH.

Image credit: FutUndBeidl

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Employer Health Insurance Facts and Figures