Organizations Moving Ahead to Implement Health-Care Reform

SHRM Poll: Growing number deciding not to drop health-care coverage for employees

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Feb. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- While most organizations are not waiting for a repeal of health-care reform, many are looking for further guidance on specific provisions of the law before making decisions on their benefits plans, a new poll by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found.

In the third of a series of polls about the implications of health-care reform on employers and employees, SHRM found that almost half of organizations — 48 percent — were waiting for regulatory guidance or information before making decisions on changes to their health-care plans.

At the same time, about two-thirds of organizations were not waiting to see if specific provisions of the law are repealed and three-quarters were not waiting for repeal of the entire law before making decisions about their plans.

"A majority of organizations are not counting on repeal. They are seeking guidance and moving forward to make sure they comply with the law," said Mark Schmit, SHRM's director of research. "This is the smart approach because a health-care plan design affects the entire organization."

Health-care reform will be among issues examined by HR experts at SHRM's Employment Law and Legislative Conference March 14-16 in Washington, D.C., with the educational sessions "Employers and Health-Care Reform Lessons Learned in Massachusetts" and "Health-Care Reform One Year Later."

SHRM's poll "Health Care Reform — Where are Organizations in the Decision-Making Process," which was conducted in late December, showed a growing number of organizations deciding not to drop health-care coverage. Slightly more than one-half of organizations — 51 percent — said they were not dropping coverage for employees as a result of reform — an increase from the 46 percent reported in SHRM's first health-care reform poll in June.

Almost one-third of organizations — 27 percent — were still conducting or planned to conduct an analysis to determine whether to continue offering health-care coverage or to drop coverage and pay opt-out fees.

Organizations with self-insured plans were more likely to already have conducted an analysis of the impact of the legislation and decided not to drop health-care coverage for their employees, the national poll of randomly selected SHRM members found.

Provisions of the landmark health-care reform law go into effect between now and 2018. When asked about specific provisions of the law, from 27 to 65 percent of organizations reported no barriers to putting them into place.

However, the cost for organizations of adding benefits for adult children up to age 26 was cited as a barrier for 54 percent of respondents, and the employee out-of-pocket cost was cited by 34 percent of organizations as a barrier for excluding over-the-counter medications from flexible spending accounts. Thirty-nine percent cited the cost to the organization as a barrier to implementing the tax form 1099 requirement for vendor transactions above $600, a provision targeted for repeal by Congress and the Obama administration.

More human-resource professionals — 62 percent — reported being comfortable with their knowledge of the complex health-care reform law that was passed in March 2010. That's an increase from 48 percent in June.

For more information on poll findings, visit Follow SHRM research on Twitter at and SHRM Media Relations at

About the Society for Human Resource Management

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world's largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 250,000 members in more than 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India. Visit SHRM Online at and follow us on Twitter at

SOURCE Society for Human Resource Management