It also provides some relief from consistent concerns that the PPACA will contribute to higher unemployment. Few organizations report that they are changing their workforce hiring or reduction strategies as a result of healthcare reform. Only 16% have adjusted or plan to adjust hours so fewer employees qualify as full-time.
The IFEBP survey results demonstrate that employers have developed some level of comfort with the healthcare reform law. In the 2012 survey, 31% of respondents were still taking a "wait and see" approach to the PPACA. By 2013 only 10% were still sitting on the fence.
In a telephone interview, Julie Stich, research director for the Milwaukee-based International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, credited the Supreme Court decision affirming the healthcare law and the end of the election season with putting employers in a "move on" frame of mind. "There's more certainty now among employers regarding how employee healthcare coverage will be affected," she adds.
Employers are now taking a more proactive approach to incorporate PPACA rules and regulations into their business models. The actions most frequently mentioned by survey respondents:
Cost containment is critical as "employers across the country… deal with the impact of implementing the PPACA while still being able to provide competitive benefits for their employees," says Stich.