Filed Under:Markets, Employee Benefits

Kaiser: Where Is PPACA Making a Difference?

President Obama signs PPACA. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
President Obama signs PPACA. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) seems to be having a growing effect on group health coverage, researchers say.  

The researchers, at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, Menlo Park, Calif., and the Health Research & Educational Trust, Washington, have reported that finding in a report based on a survey of 2,121 U.S. employers.  

The researchers found that the overall percentage of participating employers offering health benefits increased slightly, to 61%, from 60% in 2011, but is still down sharply from 69% in 2010.

The offered rate dropped to 98%, from 99%, for firms with 200 or more workers, but it increased to 61%, from 59%, for firms with 3 to 199 workers, and it increased by 2 percentage points for firms with 3 to 50 workers.

The average annual single premium increased 3%  to $5,615, and the average annual family premium increased 4%, to $15,745.

But the rate of increase for individual coverage was down from 8%, and the rate of increase for family coverage was down from 9%.

The researchers also found that plans are much less likely to be grandfathered.

PPACA drafters tried to make good on one of President Obama's campaign promises -- that people who liked their health coverage could keep it -- by letting individual policies or group plans that stay substantially the same avoid complying with some new PPACA requirements, such as requirements that individual and small group plans use at least 80% of their revenue to pay for health care and quality improvement efforts.

The percentage of all employer plans that report that they are still "grandfathered" has fallen to 31%, from 56% a year ago.

The researchers also found that employers are now more likely to say they have been affected by a PPACA young adult coverage provision.

The provision requires group plans that offer family coverage to let enrollees pay to add dependents up to age 26 to their coverage.

The percentage of surveyed employers that have added young adult dependents to their plans as a result of the PPACA provision has increased to 31%, from 20%, the researchers say.

At employers affected by the provision, the average number of young adults added has increased to 7 this year, up from 6 a year ago.

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