Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Local Employers Ponder Aca Changes Survey: Companies Would Welcome End of Some Administrative Burdens, Fees

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Local Employers Ponder Aca Changes Survey: Companies Would Welcome End of Some Administrative Burdens, Fees

Article excerpt

With the prospect of repeal and replace drawing closer, Pittsburgh-area employers seem to be anticipating a promised rollback of the Affordable Care Act with equal parts relief and anxiety.

A recent survey indicates employers would welcome the undoing of some administrative burdens and fees created under the ACA. But facing yet another major health insurance detour has them on edge.

"There seemed to be a sense of acceptance [of ACA regulations] and now there's ambiguity again. Now we don't know where it's going to go," said Jessica Brooks, CEO and executive director of the Pittsburgh Business Group on Health, whose members include some of the region's largest employers.

While no one knows with certainty how soon the changes will arrive - and President-elect Donald Trump indicated Wednesday that it could be sooner rather than later - there's no doubt that employers have a big financial stake in the outcome. Mrs. Brooks noted that, collectively, U.S. employers provide health coverage for more people than Medicare or anyone else.

As the debate on ACA's future continues, she said, "It would be beneficial to have a voice, or at least consideration" of employers' perspective.

That perspective includes finding relief from the tangle of Affordable Care Act regulations and requirements, among them the employer mandate that requires larger self-insured employers to offer and document, under threat of penalty, that the coverage they're offering is adequate and affordable.

In a Pittsburgh Business Group on Health member survey last fall, 71 percent of employers responded that they found the reporting requirement "somewhat" or "extremely" challenging. The business group has 92 members. The survey had a 47 percent response rate.

Other regulations have hit employers in the pocketbook.

Besides the 40 percent Cadillac excise tax on rich health benefit packages set to take effect next year, employers also pay a fee for each covered employee and dependent - money being used to fund the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

The Washington, D.C.-based institute was created under the ACA to research which medical procedures are most effective. …

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