While most of the significant provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) take effect in 2014, some provisions have become effective already. Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET) asked employers about some of these early provisions in the 2011 Employer Health Benefits Survey.
Extension of dependent coverage. The Kaiser/HRET survey estimated that employers added 2.3 million young adults to their parents' family health insurance policies as a result of the ACA provision that allows young adults up to age 26 to be covered as dependents on their parents' plan. Nineteen percent of small firms (those with 3 to 199 workers) and 70% of larger firms said that they had enrolled at least one adult child under this provision.
Grandfathered plans. The survey found that 56% of covered workers are enrolled in grandfathered plans, which are exempted from some of the ACA's requirements. To obtain grandfathered status, employers cannot make significant changes to their plans that reduce benefits or increase employee cost. Kaiser/HRET found that 72% of firms had at least one grandfathered plan at the time they were surveyed.
Preventive services. The ACA requires nongrandfathered plans to provide certain preventive benefits without cost sharing. Twenty-three percent of covered workers were enrolled in plans that changed their cost-sharing requirements for preventive services as a result of this provision. In addition, 31% of covered workers are in plans that changed the list of preventive services due to the ACA.
The survey was conducted between January and May 2011 and included responses from 2,088 employers with three or more employees. For more information, visit http://ehbs.kff.org.
For a comprehensive analysis of the ACA, and additional information on health reform and other developments in employee benefits, just click here.