Monday, September 15, 2014

Employers: Obamacare isn't biggest problem

The Affordable Care Act may be pushing up the cost of your workplace benefits, but it's not at the top of employers' list of challenges,  according to an August report by the National Business Group on Health.

Like many of you,  I've heard my employers talk about how Obamacare is shaping our health insurance benefits.  For instance, McClatchy is among many companies trying to bring down costs now to avoid the 40 percent excise tax on "Cadillac plans" that will be levied in 2018.

But when the nonprofit group representing large employers asked representatives of 136 companies to name the top three factors driving costs up,  the ACA didn't make the top five.

High-cost claimants  (individuals with expensive medical conditions)  topped the list, with 40 percent putting it at No. 1 and 62 percent putting it in the top three.

Specific diseases or conditions were named by 63 percent,  with 24 percent citing that as the top cause.

$1,000 per pill
Specialty drugs were named by 58 percent, though only 6 percent called that the top factor.  Brian Marcotte,  CEO of NBGH,  said that refers to extremely costly drugs,  such as a new hepatitis C medication that costs $84,000 for an 84-tablet course of treatment.

Overall medical inflation was cited by 35 percent,  with 12 percent putting it in the top spot.

Hospitalization was named by 26 percent,  with 7 percent putting it first.

Complying with the ACA was cited by 19 percent, with 7 percent saying it's the biggest factor in driving up costs.

I mentioned that to Steve Graybill,  a partner with Mercer's human resources consulting business in Charlotte.  He said he'd attribute  "better than half"  of next year's rising costs to the ACA,  though he agreed those expenses are entwined with all the other factors that have been driving up costs for years.


Thomas said...

All the reason they list are part of the ACA. They keep writing these article before group plans are cancelled which has been delayed until after the election in an attempt to mitigate damage to the Democrats due to this unpopular law.

tarhoosier said...

But, But...Death panels! Economic catastrophe! System collapse! Disaster! Helpless doctors! Roving undead patients!
Oh. Never mind.

Anonymous said...

My doctor was just fired for speaking up against the "system". How dare he be concerned about spending more than 5 minutes with a patient that has an emotional need because they just found they have cancer! The process is more important!