Most employees fear shift to exchange coverage

Insurers haven't successfully communicated the benefits of enrolling in a plan sold through a health insurance exchange since a new survey shows a large majority of consumers are afraid of their employers shifting them into the online marketplaces.

A Morning Consult survey found 63 percent of 1,250 likely voters said they're either somewhat or very concerned that their employers will transfer their coverage to the exchanges.

It also found 51 percent of respondents think such a shift would have a negative impact on the quality of their health coverage. Meanwhile, only 16 percent of consumers said buying an exchange plan would have a positive impact, and 34 percent said it would have no effect.

Even though the Internal Revenue Service issued a regulatory guidance in May saying employers would have to pay $100 a day in penalties for each employee who buys plans through exchanges, as FierceHealthPayer previously reported, that ruling hasn't eased any fears about their bosses forcing them into the online marketplaces.

These survey findings reveal employees' negative view of exchange plans, likely due to insurers having widely implemented narrow networks in these policies.

Moreover, consumers are so fearful of obtaining health coverage through an exchange that they said they would even consider finding a new job if their current employer shifted them into an online marketplace. Fifty-two percent of respondents said they would seriously consider looking for a new job.

Their worries are not unfounded: About 90 percent of S&P 500 companies companies said they will shift from employer-based health coverage to plans sold on the federal marketplace by 2020, according to an investor report by Standard & Poor Capital IQ released in May.

To learn more:
- here's the Morning Consult survey