If you're thinking of dropping health coverage for your employees, think again.
Sure, many employer groused when Democrats passed health reform. They feared new mandates, rules telling them what kind--and how much--health care they needed to provide to employees.
And as I wrote last month, self-insured employers can expect their health care costs to go up 1.5 percent in order to cover the costs of another Obamacare mandate-the requirement that employers provide free regular preventive services like mammograms and annual check-ups.
But despite these new rules-the heavy hand of big government-most employers have no plans of giving up their role as the single largest source of health care for Americans.
A survey of 459 employers by Fidelity Investments showed that employers may be anxious about the impact the new law will have on their bottom line, but 64 percent said they were not seriously considering dropping health benefits. Even among small employers, which tend to be hardest hit by costs, only 22 percent said they were seriously considering eliminating health benefits.
Now if all 22 percent of those small businesses actually dropped coverage that would be significant. But it's unlikely that will happen. Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees are likely to benefit, especially if they have low-wage workers. Those workers will be eligible for federal subsidies to pay for coverage. Employers with more than 50 employees will have to pay a $3,000 fine for every employee who takes a government subsidy. But small employers will get a free pass.
The reason employers plan to still offer coverage despite the increased costs large employers could face is that health care benefits remain, after salary (and sometimes despite it), the most important tool to attract and retain talented workers.
Eighty-five percent of employers in the survey said that in the future, health benefits will continue to be just as important-or more important-a tool to attract workers. And that, in a nutshell, is why if you're thinking of dropping health benefits, for the sake of your business, think again.