ACA Has Little Impact on Health Care Attained Through Employers

Politico (9/11, Norman) reported that a survey released Wednesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that the Affordable Care Act “so far has had little impact on the insurance people get through their jobs,” and that premiums increased 3% in the first year of healthcare exchanges. According to Politico, the survey also found that roughly the same number of employers are offering coverage as in 2013, and the number of workers accepting insurance from work remained at 80%.

The Wall Street Journal (9/11, Mathews, Subscription Publication) reports that the 3% increase raised average premium costs for a family to $16,834 is slightly below the 4% increase in 2013. Employees’ share of family plan premiums remained static at 29%, roughly $4,823.

The New York Times (9/11, Sanger-Katz, Subscription Publication) “Upshot” blog notes that the increase is the smallest in the 16 years that the Foundation has been tracking health premiums. Most years have seen double digit increases in premiums, which has squeezed both employees and employers. The survey found the average cost of a family health plan is $16,834 per year.

Congressional Quarterly (9/11, Subscription Publication) reports that, despite the improved premium situation, “workers are getting socked by rising deductibles.”

The Los Angeles Times (9/11, Terhune) reports “the average employee deductible has increased 47% since 2009 to $1,217 annually.” Some businesses have responded to the increase by shifting more costs onto their workers. The survey’s finding of reduced premium growth, however, reflects a more recent trend of slower growth in healthcare spending nationwide.

Kaiser Health News (9/10, Appleby) reports that the survey also found a non-statistically significant decrease in the percentage of employers offering health coverage to their workers. However, some health economists predict an increasing number of small businesses will shift employees to health insurance exchanges set up through the ACA.

Jeffrey R. Ungvary President

Jeffrey R. Ungvary