ACA Hits 5 Year Anniversary Mark

by Curtis Farmer on April 6, 2015

in Administrative,Benefits

Affordable Care Act Approved Signature

The Affordable Care Act recently marked a significant milestone, as it has now been 5 years since it was signed into law. While the nation awaits a Supreme Court decision on subsidies that could potentially affect insurance costs for nearly 8 million people, many have wondered what impact the legislation has had on enrollment statistics.

While the total number of uninsured Americans is certainly down since passage of the law, a recent study shows that group insurance enrollment remains ‘virtually unchanged’ over the past calendar year. This news comes despite many organizations falling under the rules mandating coverage for employees for the very first time in 2015.

This recent survey by Mercer showed that, while the average percentage of employees eligible for coverage rose slightly from 87% to 88%, the percentage of those eligible that actually enrolled dropped a percentage point, leaving the enrollment numbers for 2015 virtually unchanged.

Why so little change? One reason for this surprising result is that most employers affected by the ACA’s mandatory coverage rules were already in compliance with the law prior to 2015 – 81% of those surveyed, in fact. Additionally, a recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that some employers (14% of those surveyed) have reduced the hours of their part-time workers to avoid coverage mandates, and another 6% plan to do so in the future. Expanded Medicaid plays a part in these results as well, as more employees waived off of their employer’s coverage when becoming eligible for Medicaid benefits. Finally, many of those newly eligible had other coverage through a spouse or parent or simply chose to remain uninsured.

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