Survey: One in 11 employers plan to drop health coverage

One in 11 employers is planning to drop health insurance coverage for workers over the next three years because of the high expense, according to a report from consulting firm Deloitte.
     While Deloitte’s 2012 survey of employers — conducted before the Supreme Court’s ruling in June to uphold health reform — showed that 9% of them planned to stop offering health care coverage, 81% of companies polled said they would continue providing the benefit as a means to attract and retain employees.
     That’s good news for more than 160 million people — more than half the U.S. population — who currently get health insurance directly through their employers.
     Another 10% of employers polled in the Deloitte survey indicated that they hadn’t yet made up their mind.
     Among those employers who indicated that they wouldn’t dump health coverage, most plan to make workers pick up more of the cost associated with it through higher premiums, co-pays and deductibles.
     The survey also showed that smaller businesses — those with fewer than 50 employers — view health insurance exchanges more favorably than bigger companies.
     Under health reform, states are mandated to set up health insurance exchanges — online marketplaces where consumers can buy subsidized health plans — by 2014.
     These exchanges are geared toward making health insurance affordable to underinsured and uninsured individuals.
     By 2014, companies with 50 or more full-time employees must start providing health insurance or face penalties.
     For most small businesses, that means a new way to shop for less-expensive health insurance on the exchanges where they can buy plans for their workers.
     Deloitte’s online survey, conducted between February and April, polled 560 randomly selected companies with 50 or more workers that offer health.