And the Survey says...

The Lead june 2016 - Lifetime Benefit Solutions

Recently, Lifetime Benefit Solutions conducted a survey about compliance and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Among its major findings:LBS article on Compliance and the Affordable Care Act - March 2017

Compliance and Preparedness:

  • Overall, employers expressed a fairly high level of confidence regarding their compliance or level of preparation relative to compliance with all current and upcoming regulations and reporting requirements.
  • There was dissonance between employer and broker perceptions regarding preparedness. Only one-third of brokers somewhat agreed that employers were prepared for new reporting disclosure and notification requirements that take effect this year while nearly half somewhat or strongly disagreed.
  • The dissonance between employers and brokers is interesting to note considering that 80% of employers indicated that they relied on their broker to stay informed about compliance and reporting requirements.
  • Employers were most confident regarding COBRA, written plan document/summary plan description for health FSA and medical, Form 5500 and 1094/1095.
  • Employers were least confident regarding employer comparable contribution rules under 4980G for HSAs and the provisions of the “Cadillac Tax” the part of the ACA which taxes high-cost health plans.

Influence Over Benefit Plan Costs and Employee Engagement:

  • Employers responses were divided regarding whether they felt their company had influence in controlling medical plan expenses. 46 percent strongly or somewhat agreed that they had control while 30 percent strongly or somewhat disagreed. The remaining 22 percent were neutral.
  • Responses here are likely influenced by benefit plan design. With fully insured plans, premium rates are set at the beginning of each plan year so employers have a good idea of total annual costs and can budget accordingly. While this provides short-term financial certainty, it doesn’t provide the ability to understand utilization, improve employee health and reduce overall costs that is possible through self-funded plan design.

Affordable Care Act changes March 2017 - Lifetime Benefit Solutions

Employees Understanding of Benefit Plans:

  • Seventy percent of employers agreed or strongly agreed that their employees understand the company’s benefit plans.
  • This stands in contrast with recent employee survey data from MetLife that indicates 54% of employees claim they need more help understanding how their benefits work, and how those benefits can help meet their needs.
  • Senior HR and C-level executives may not be sufficiently involved in the employee communications process to accurately assess the level of employee understanding.

Sharing Information with Employees About Benefit Plans:

  • Eighty-six percent of employers believe that their company does a good job sharing information with them about their benefits plan. This contrasts with survey data from MetLife that shows fewer than half of employees strongly agree that their companies’ benefit communications helped them to understand how they would pay for specific services and effectively educated them on their benefit options.

 

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