Some companies shrinking options as ‘Cadillac tax' looms

Some companies shrinking options as ‘Cadillac tax' looms
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Some of the nation’s largest companies are already taking steps to avoid ObamaCare’s "Cadillac tax," according to a business survey released Wednesday.  

About 12 percent of companies said they have taken steps to avoid being hit by the much-maligned tax on high-priced health insurance plans, which goes into effect in 2020.

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Employers say they have either shifted more costs to workers, dropped their pricier options or picked plans with fewer providers, according to the annual employer benefits survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust.

Many large employers — about two-thirds — say they have done an analysis to see whether their healthcare plans would be subject to the 40 percent tax on health benefits.

This year’s polling shows that companies are already bracing for the Cadillac tax, which was originally slated to go into effect in 2018.

Under strong pressure from union groups, Democrats in Congress agreed to delay the unpopular provision last fall.

The delay was part of a bargain President Obama signed last year that also paused the similarly despised tax on medical devices and a separate tax on insurers.

The Cadillac tax, the first of its kind, applies to the nation’s most generous health plans. It applies to employee health benefits, as well as employer contributions to health saving accounts.

The survey delivered good news for employer-sponsored health plans, however, which Kaiser Family Foundation CEO Drew Altman called the “single-largest part of the health insurance system.”

Healthcare costs for that market, which includes about 150 million people, continued to see a “significant slowdown” over the last 15 years, according to the report.  

The price of premiums for a single person averaged about $6,435 per year, about a 3 percent increase from last year. 

Altman also sought to correct the record about what he called a “supercharged” debate over ObamaCare.

“It’s clearly not driven up employer health costs,” Altman told reporters. “And there’s no evidence of employers shifting workers to part-time status because of the law.