The ADP Research Institute has published the 2015 edition of the ADP® Annual Health Benefits Report in order to address questions related to health benefits trends, including the ACA impact which was signed into law more than five years ago.
Now in its third year of publication, the report tracks key health benefit metrics for a diverse sample of nearly 200 large employers with 1,000 or more employees over a five year time horizon from 2011 through enrollment for plan year 2015 – a period in which many key ACA provisions were phased in.
Trends and key metrics in this report include:
Employer-sponsored health plan system remains stable
Although some demographic shifts occurred, overall participation remained constant and premiums rose modestly. As employers began to comply with the ACA, they appeared to increase their use of high-deductible plans combined with health savings accounts (HSAs).
As eligibility rises, participation remains steady
Over the five-year period studied, the percentage of full-time employees (as designated by the employer) who were eligible for employer-provided health benefits rose by 2.0%. Despite a rise in eligibility, the number of eligible employees who opted to take insurance dropped by -1.7% during the same period, keeping the overall participation rate steady at 69.3%.
Employees under 26 see spike in eligibility
While eligibility increased for all age groups, it increased the most dramatically – by 8.5% – for employees under age 26, with an eligibility rate of 83.4%. In this age group, the take rate was just 44.1%, a decline of 12.6% since 2011. This trend may indicate that many eligible employees under age 26 are obtaining insurance from a source other than their employers.
Difference in eligibility diminishing between married and single workers
Eligibility rates of married versus single workers became much more similar. Single employees had a higher take rate than married employees, likely because many married employees choose to be included on a spouse’s health plan.
Males and females have similar eligibility rates
Eligibility went up for both males and females. In 2015, eligible females enrolled in their health plans at a rate that was 6.8% lower than males. This difference could be partially attributed to more females than males opting to be on a spouse’s benefits plan.
Premiums rising at a modest rate
Total premiums (including the employer and employee portions) increased by 9.4%, about 2% each year, which is modest when compared to the previous decade.
Premiums vary by industry
This study analyzed the average monthly premiums in five selected industry groupings: Education and Health Services; Financial Activities; Manufacturing; Professional and Business Services; and Trade, Transportation and Utilities. Over the period studied, average monthly premiums increased in all five selected industries, but at varying rates.
The Impact of the ACA on Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage