The ACA effect: Low-wage workers avoid coverage; execs lose platinum benefits

There's no doubt that the Affordable Care Act has led to major changes in the health coverage that companies offer their workers, but the way these policy shifts play out may depend on the how much an employee makes.

For example, while the ACA's employer mandate requires large companies to offer their employees health insurance, many low-wage workers have shown little interest in buying coverage, the New York Times reports. Just ask Billy Sewell, who tells the Times that when he began offering coverage to the 600 workers he employs at several Golden Corral restaurants he owns, only two signed up.

Indeed, while the ACA has made major strides in reducing the number of uninsured Americans, many of these gains have been driven by Medicaid expansion and plans purchased in the individual marketplaces, not employer coverage.

On the other end of the pay scale, however, the ACA is having an impact on some of the country's highest-paid employees.

The ACA requirements and pressure from shareholders have led many companies to eliminate platinum-level health benefits they previously offered exclusively to executives, according to the Wall Street Journal.  

One such employer is San Jose, California-based Brocade Communication Systems Inc., which has largely ended most of its perk-laden benefits packages for execs in order to even the playing field and prepare for the looming Cadillac tax on high-cost health plans, Chief Financial Officer Dan Fairfax tells the WSJ.

Still, the article notes that some companies have been able to continue offering executive-specific benefits through grandfathered plans. Such executive-targeted healthcare--which offers perks such as spa-like, all-day physicals--are a lucrative business line for some clinics, FierceHealthcare has reported.  

To learn more:
- read the Times article
- here's the WSJ report

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