According to the consulting firm Mercer of 1,203 employers surveyed, sixty-one percent say they will have to pay more for health benefits when key provisions of the Affordable Care Act take effect in 2014 and one in five expect employee health benefit costs to rise by at least 5 percent.
Health insurance reform will most likely cost the most for companies that pay their employees less and have a large part-time workforce because the Affordable Care Act requires large employers to provide health insurance to all employees working at least 30 hours per week or else face penalties. About one in four employers, and one in two employers in retail and hospitality, said in the Mercer survey that they will have to take action to avoid penalties.
Only 6 percent of employers, including 9 percent of retail and hospitality companies, said they will likely drop their health benefit plans because of the Affordable Care Act.
The study comes after Papa John’s Pizza founder and CEO John Schnatter said earlier this month that he plans to raise the price of each pizza by $0.11 to $0.14 to offset new costs under Obamacare. The National Restaurant Association has previously stated that health insurance reform might hurt restaurants’ slim profit margins, since it requires employers with more than 50 employees to provide affordable health insurance.
The Mercer study did not indicate whether they, like Schnatter, plan to pass on the higher cost of employee health care to consumers.