ACA Health Insurance Premium Increases

I’m not sure about the rest of the world, but here in Huntsville I’ve had a dozen conversations with other HR pros about the ACA affecting health insurance premiums. Our plan does not renew on a standard Jan/Dec plan year, so our renewal happened before the crazy stuff started happening. We got away with a “modest” 10% increase across the board. I consider that lucky, and so will you after you check out these stories.

Here are a few of the scenarios I’ve heard about from other companies locally:

  • The employer canceled the standard preferred provider (PPO) plan and instituted a high deductible option paired with a health savings account, only telling the employees about the change 5 days before making the switch, which ensured that nobody could research and be fully prepared for the changeover.
  • Another employer received their notice from the health insurance provider. Normally there are two rates for health insurance: family and individual. This time the rate sheet included custom premiums for each participant on the plan. Bob Smith might pay $800 per month for his family plan, but John Doe could have a $1400 premium instead. That will be a nightmare to administer on the HR side! Consider also the recruiting applications. When candidates ask how much the premiums will be for insurance, you really have no idea until you get their info to the provider and receive the person’s custom rate. Ugh!
  • Yet another company got their renewal notice for health coverage. They retained the single/family tiered rates, but rates are going up 30% effective January 1st. Should they feel lucky? Is this the new normal?
Our rates did what?

Our rates did what?

Forget about talent management or any of the other “major” HR issues. The health insurance premium changes brought about by the ACA are a reality for a large portion of the HR population out there currently, and it’s only going to get more prevalent. It’s hard to think about recruiting or employee development when this is the stark reality staring us in the face.

Anyone else want to comment below (anonymously, if you like) about their own company’s health insurance woes? I’d be curious to see how the rest of the world is dealing with this challenge. How are you telling your employees? Is anyone interested in a post on how to communicate these changes to staff?

3 thoughts on “ACA Health Insurance Premium Increases

  1. Lisa Stefanie, SPHR

    Our company does outsourced HR for a number of small companies in Buffalo and WNY. The ACA has become an all consuming issue here, with so much confusion that as you talk about it, it feels as productive as a dog chasing its tail! But no doubt about it for the companies that we work with . . those that had renewal dates this fall were the lucky ones. Companies with Jan 1 dates and later will be experiencing 20-40% increases. Instead of affordable, it’s become the “Unaffordable Care Act” for small businesses.

    1. Ben Post author

      So true, Lisa. Having a lot of conversations lately with HR professionals about how this is impacting the workplace.

  2. Scott Ziegler

    I have the inside scoop on what’s happening so I won’t comment publicly – let’s just say it’s scary stuff.

    Last week went to an HR conference and learned what consultants are telling corporations to save money – even scarier. Since the ACA only looks at rates for employees, I see a time coming when even employer sponsored family plans will be too expensive. This will force families to have two or more policies – one for each FT employee and a different policy – purchased from the exchange – for dependents. As long as the employers coverage is affordable these families will receive no subsidies … pretty much defeating the intent of the ACA.

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