Study: More healthcare costs could be on the way, say employers

Most companies provide healthcare for employees, but there are obstacles to care, including higher costs and bad communication.

Most companies provide healthcare for employees, but there are obstacles to care, including higher costs and bad communication.

According to a study from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, more than 30 percent of employers expect Affordable Care Act (ACA) costs to increase next year. With a fitting HR software solution, managing the costs of healthcare and related employee concerns is easier and more connected to the specific nature of the company. In this example, that can include the business' current approach to healthcare and what plans they intend to offer in the future.

The Foundation's survey was conducted this past March and gathered nearly 600 responses from professionals in Human Resources and related disciplines, mostly working at insurance industry companies.

While 94 percent of the surveyed companies provided healthcare for their employees last year and continue to do so, a third of respondents said that poor understanding of ACA among employees presents a "communication obstacle." The majority of organizations are attempting to predict possible changes in future health plan costs, and 15 percent have even adjusted their employees hours to make them ineligible for coverage.

"Organizations following the ACA Supreme Court cases very closely were asked to share details about how that monitoring process works and what they were looking and hoping for," the report reads. "Some said their HR/benefits staff monitors internally on a daily basis via e-mail updates, articles, legal blogs, meetings and webinars."

An older benefits system may be ill-equipped to handle necessary departmental tasks as policies are changed. In anticipation of the costs associated with healthcare benefits, businesses should partner with an HR consulting service that is knowledgeable about latest vendors and solutions. This will simplify vendor selection and ultimately streamline the implementation process, a necessity for companies concerned about high costs. Selecting the right HR plan starts the process off right.