CBO Healthcare Report: About Health Benefit Programs | Mercer US

CBO Healthcare Report: About Health Benefit Programs

Our Thinking / Healthcare /

CBO Report Our Take on the Stats
Calendar12 April 2016

A new report from the Congressional Budget Office has been widely covered in the press, from many different angles. Here’s our takeaway, through the employer lens: 

  • 155 million people – 57% of the population under age 65 – get their health insurance from their employer. That’s a lot! The employer voice is important and needs to be heard, especially after the election when the new President will take steps to implement his/her health policy.
  • The number of people covered by employer-sponsored plans is projected to decline to 152 million by 2019. The decline is due mostly to lower-paid workers migrating to Medicaid or qualifying for subsidized coverage in the public exchange – and not to employers’ dropping coverage.  Truth is, there has been very little change in the percentage of employers offering health insurance to their employees.
  • The value of the Federal tax break for employer-based health care coverage is estimated to be $266 billion this year. This is something to keep an eye on. Many policymakers would like to tap some of that money to help pay for health care for those who do not have it. The ACA’s “Cadillac” tax wasn’t the first attempt to do that – and it likely won’t be the last.

The reason for the staying power of employer-sponsored health plans in the post-ACA era? Employers have been working hard to meet the challenges of providing sustainable health benefit programs that meet workers’ needs, and the great majority of employees like their employer-sponsored plans. Together, employers continue to pioneer the way forward in effectively and efficiently providing quality health care coverage to most Americans and their families. Their voice is and will continue to be an essential contribution to the ongoing health care policy debate.

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