As a follow up to a survey conducted in September 2013 that measured individuals' and businesses' knowledge of and preparedness for the Affordable Care Act, Harris poll conducted two surveys, One Year In: Americans Respond to the Affordable Care Act and One Year In: Businesses Respond to the Affordable Care Act on behalf of the Transamerica Center for Health StudiesSM
One Year In: Businesses Respond to the Affordable Care Act was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of the Transamerica Center for Health StudiesSM between July 8 and July 30, 2014 among a sample of 751 employer decision makers aged 18+. Data were weighted (statistically adjusted) on employer size (by number of employees) to be representative of U.S. businesses. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available upon request. When comparing to the 2013 benchmark study, please note the qualification was slightly more restrictive in the 2014 study. In 2014, respondents were required to be: 1) Primary decision makers of employee benefits at their company; 2) Employed by or the proprietor of a for-profit (non-educational) organization; 3) Owner, CEO/Chairman, Director of HR, Benefits Manager, other HR professional responsible for employee benefits, or other professional responsible for employee benefits.
Nine in ten (91 percent) employers believe that their employees are satisfied with the health insurance options offered to them.
- This is not far off from what employees actually reported this year – three-quarters (76 percent) are satisfied with the health insurance plan available through work.
In 2014, 33 percent of employers said they expect their companies to increase headcount in the next two years as a result of the ACA, compared to 20 percent in 2013.
- Only 11 percent said they expect the number of employees at their company to decrease as a result of ACA.
- The increases are anticipated primarily among businesses with over 50 employees that are impacted by the employer mandate, with 44 percent indicating a likely increase in headcount due to the ACA.
With the individual mandate taking effect in 2014 and the employer mandate looming in 2015, employers are placing more priority on offering health insurance to all employees and less priority on minimizing health care costs.\
- In 2014, 12 percent of employers indicated that offering health insurance to all employees was the top benefits-related priority compared to 6 percent in 2013.
- In 2014, only 6 percent of employers said minimizing healthcare costs was their top benefits-related priority compared to 18 percent in 2013.
Little consensus exists among businesses on the impact the ACA will have on the quality of health care offered.
- Although a majority do not anticipate the ACA will impact the quality of the health insurance employers are able to offer their employees, the rest are split on whether the ACA will result in an improvement (28 percent) or a decline (21 percent) in quality.
- On the whole, businesses appear to be somewhat more optimistic about the impacts of the ACA. In July 2013, 36 percent of businesses said the ACA will provide no improvements the company is interested in, but just 28 percent say the same in 2014.