Today is a big day! Five years ago, the ACA was signed into law. For most people, it may not have been the type of momentous event that has them remembering where they were when it happened – although I certainly do! I was on vacation and had just finished a round of golf when I reached for my BlackBerry and saw the news. It was definitely the end of my vacation and the start of a journey for all of us. Many, many hours have been spent by employers understanding what the law entails and the implications of all the guidance, regulations, delays, and FAQs that followed. Compliance has not been easy.
When the law was first passed, some predicted employers would decide to drop coverage and just pay the penalty. In fact, right from the start, most employers remained committed to offering coverage to their employees, and among large employers especially the number has only grown since then — from 91% in 2010 saying they were unlikely to terminate their plans to 97% in 2015.
This week, we will run a special series of posts for the five-year anniversary of the ACA. Several Mercer colleagues will share their views on how the ACA has affected different aspects of employer-sponsored coverage over the past five years, and their predictions for what lies ahead.
One thing I know we can agree on. Much of the progress we have made over the past five years, as health benefit cost growth has fallen to historic lows, is the result of changes already in motion — although without a doubt the ACA has been the impetus to move a little faster. Before the ACA and after, our goals for employer-sponsored health plans have remained the same — an engaged and healthier workforce, cost-effective care, and quality outcomes.