Employer-based coverage to continue for next 5 years

Large employers expect to continue providing health insurance for their workers, at least for the next five years, new survey findings show.

About 60 percent of large companies with at least 1,000 employees said they aren't likely to stop offering health plans in favor of subsidizing workers' coverage purchased through a health insurance exchange, according to a survey from the National Business Group on Health and Towers Watson. 82 percent said it's highly unlikely they would direct full-time employees to exchanges without providing a subsidy of some kind.

When it comes to private exchanges, which companies ranging from insurers and consultants are establishing to compete against the government-run versions, employers are even less invested--fewer than one percent of surveyed employers currently offer their employees access to a private exchange and only 15 percent are considering providing access next year, the survey found.

However, employers weren't as confident when talking about the long-term potential of continuing to offer insurance coverage. Only 26 percent were confident they would be providing benefits in 10 years, a small increase from last year's 23 percent, Reuters reported.

In analyzing the results, Towers Watson consultants believe that employers will be directing workers to exchanges in the future. "There will definitely be employers who will be looking to move certain segments of their workforce towards the public exchanges and those segments could be early retirees and they could be part-timers working under 30 hours," Randall Abbott, senior consultant at Towers Watson, told Reuters.

To learn more:
- here's the survey
- read the Reuters article

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