Employer insurance

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Will Employers Start Dropping Employees From Health Plans? Discuss.

Will employers stop covering employees and push them to the exchanges once they are set up in the 50 states? (STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages)

Now that the future of the Affordable Care Act has been decided – to some degree – the debates over what it means have begun.

Does the act potentially impose a tax on Americans or a penalty? Will the health care system become uniformly robust, or will it put a huge burden on physicians in private practice?

And another biggie that you’ll be hearing about:

The Chronicle has a piece this morning, with a link to a report in McKinsey & Company, which suggests: YES, given the opportunity, employers will stop offering coverage. But in Massachusetts, which has a similar law already in place, that hasn’t been the case.

Who is right? Probably this report from the Commonwealth Fund that sorts through a number of studies and concludes it will be hard to know how it will shake out until large employers are eligible for the health exchanges in 2017.

Studies and surveys on the subject aren’t hard to find, but they are hard to reconcile. Just since June 2010, there have been at least seven surveys on the subject.1 So, will 2.7 percent of employers drop coverage as this survey suggests? Or will 18.8 percent drop coverage, as this survey, conducted one month later, suggests? Or were researchers at RAND correct when then calculated in late 2010 that employers would offer coverage to an additional 13.6 million workers once the exchanges, penalties, and various subsidies are all up and running?2

Let the debates begin.