Survey finds some midstate employers have cut health insurance benefits

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | May 21, 2015 4:36 AM

(Harrisburg) -- Employers are still trying to figure out the federal Affordable Care Act, and in some cases, workers are caught in the middle.

First, nearly half of employers have either cut spousal coverage or hiked costs.

But deductibles and copays have also increased on some plans.

The details of how the ACA is affecting Central Pennsylvania's workforce are reflected in an annual survey by the financial consultant firm Conrad Siegel.

The company's Rob Glus says the trend on spousal coverage has been pretty steady.

"It's becoming a more prominent thing and it's becoming a more acceptable thing for plans to do, even plans in sectors that probably it wasn't a very common practice, for example, school districts or governmental employers," he says.

Glus says some companies are cutting worker benefits because of rising costs.

But he adds they're making tweaks in anticipation of the so-called Cadillac tax going into effect in 2018.

Says Glus: "There's going to be an incentive to say hey if I get close to that tax, I am better off, as an employer, I'm better actually lowering the benefits. In other words, raising deductibles and copays and things like that in my plan."

It'll be assessed on higher-end plans, based on the total premium for a plan and not just what an employee pays.

The survey also shows employers moving towards health savings accounts, which are paired with high deductible plans and don't get taxed.

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