- Any thoughts that health insurance plans sold via exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act would be on par with employer-provided plans have not been realized, according to the New York Times, and that could be good for employers looking to attract and retain talent.
- While the ACA offered the promise of the same type of health insurance plans Americans receive from their employers, since the law's passage in 2010, the typical ACA plan is more of a "Medicaid option" with the addition of a very high deductible, the Times reported. Also, ACA plans are increasingly limited in many cases to low-cost doctors and hospitals with few of the bells and whistles employer plans offer.
- The growing headlines generated by the exodus of large national healthcare carriers nationwide may make matters even worse, according to the Times, which also reported that the lure of ACA benefits being similar to employer benefits is appearing less likely all the time.
One original idea behind the ACA was that some employees might be able to retire early, move to the on-demand economy and still be able to buy good, affordable healthcare insurance of the type they had with their jobs. But that's far from today's reality, according to the Times.
Plus, the largest carriers already providing the bulk of employer-based coverage — UnitedHealth Group, Aetna and Humana — are leaving the ACA exchanges behind in many states and markets, and that is creating added stress to the system.
Despite the negative news, this trend can have a silver lining for employers constantly battling to attract and retain talent. By keeping their healthcare plans strong and comprehensive (even if they are sharing more of the costs with employees), employers today can point to healthcare coverage as a prime reason for workers staying put.