Blog By: Jeanne Hines, SPHR
There’s been a buzz in the benefits community lately about a recent survey published by McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm. Although the survey was quite extensive, the noise centered around whether businesses will discontinue offering health insurance in response to the Affordable Care Act.
When McKinsey explained to survey respondents that employees could purchase their insurance at a low cost through state-run Exchanges, 30% indicated they would definitely or probably stop offering employer-sponsored insurance (ESI), while over 63% said they were either undecided or would not make the change. Interestingly enough, well over 50% of those surveyed said they hadn’t calculated how many of their employees would benefit from such an arrangement and only a little over half said they were “somewhat familiar” with health care reform. At best, McKinsey was getting educated guesses from decision-makers who are not familiar with health care reform and its impact on their employees and financials.
Nancy-Ann DeParle, Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for the White House commented in her June 20th blog post about this recent statement from McKinsey:
“ The survey was not intended as a predictive economic analysis of the impact of the Affordable Care Act… We understand how the language in the article could lead the reader to think the research was a prediction, but it is not.”
DeParle’s June 20th blog referenced another recent study by Avalere Health, a respected consulting firm, which predicts market stabilization after 2014. Other studies were cited in her June 8th blog, including those done by The Rand Corporation, The Urban Institute and Mercer, all of which predict minimal change in employer-sponsored insurance.
Whether you choose to side with the White House or McKinsey, at the end of the day what matters most is the level of satisfaction business owners and their employees have with benefits. At issue are the “me too” companies who may emulate the decisions of others, prior to having a thorough understanding of their options.
Business owners can expect their benefits specialists, to help them understand the intricacies of Health Care Reform and work with them to determine their benefits goals and develop strategies and tactics to support them. As part of that process, we recommend surveying employees to find out what they value most and tailoring programs around those desires. It is through close communication and soliciting input from all sides that a benefits specialist can assist business owners in making sound decisions regardless of what the survey says.