While employers are continuing to feel the impact from a multitude of changing laws and regulations, worries about the Affordable Care Act have begun to subside, to some degree. But the jury is out on the long-term implications of the ACA, and the ways benefits managers will live up to its stipulations in coming years.
“It’s not to say that employers are no longer concerned about the ACA — they are and health care reform continues to be one of the most pressing issues on the minds of all employers,” said Steven Friedman, co-chair of Littler’s Employee Benefits Practice. “However, uncertainty surrounding the ACA, as well as delays in its implementation, has [still] created confusion among employers.”
The ACA has remained one of the top regulatory issues most employers still keep a constant eye on, but many say they have felt the significance of the ACA’s impact drop. Littler Mendelsons’s annual Executive Employer Survey Report suggests worries of the ACA hover at about 41% this year, versus 57% in 2013.
More than half of the respondents say that, in response to the numerous amendments and delays to the employer mandates, they have enlisted employee benefits attorneys or consultants to help with navigating upcoming regulations and tracking areas where there will most likely be additional change.
However, 39% have said they have done nothing as they believe they are still on course despite extensions, 14% are taking a “wait and see” approach in hopes that the employer mandate will be amended or repealed and 14% have delayed planning some aspects in the event that future concessions to the mandates are granted.
Respondents also pointed to several steps they’ve taken in response to the ACA, including implementing employee wellness programs (52%), offering employees health care benefits through private health insurance exchanges (26%) or limiting more employees to 30 hours per week (25%).
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Jeffrey R. Ungvary President