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Workers Worried Employers Will Move Them To Obamacare Exchanges

The Supreme Court’s ruling this week that “closely-held” companies like Hobby Lobby aren’t obligated to comply with the health law’s contraception mandate because it conflicts with their religious beliefs has put a renewed focus on the employer-sponsored healthcare.

Consumers getting their healthcare through their employers is a deeply ingrained practice in the United States (although that trend has been diminishing in recent years), and the court ruling has sparked all kinds of arguments pertaining to that the arrangement. Some have concluded that it will lead workers to seek alternatives outside the workplace, which they can find on the federal health exchanges created under Obamacare.

However, a new poll from Morning Consult found that the public isn’t there yet.

In fact, a strong majority of workers are worried that their employers will stop offering health insurance altogether and move them into the Obamacare exchanges. Workers with employer-sponsored health plans largely have a negative view of what such a move would mean for their coverage, and would even consider looking for a new job under that scenario, the poll found.

In May, the IRS issued a ruling meant to discourage so-called “employer dumping.”

Under Obamacare, companies with 50 or more employees are required to offer insurance, which is a tax write-off for the company, or pay a penalty. The IRS ruling made it so that large companies don’t get the same favorable tax treatment if they choose to offer subsidies to employees to enter the exchanges, rather than offer the plans themselves.

But that hasn’t alleviated worker concerns about getting funneled into Obamacare.

Among likely voters, 63 percent said they’re at least somewhat concerned that their employers will shift their coverage to the federal exchanges, against 38 percent who said they’re not too concerned or not concerned at all.

The concern spreads across virtually every political and demographic group, with the exception suburban white females, post-grads, and those who say they have a strong liberal bias.

In addition, 51 percent said that if their employer moved them to the federal exchanges, it would have a negative impact on the quality of their coverage. Only 16 percent said it would have a positive impact, and 34 percent said it would have no effect at all.

A majority – 52 percent – said they’d seriously consider looking for a new job if they had to move to the health exchanges, against 48 who said they wouldn’t.

Healthcare Law Gets No Bump From Atheists and Agnostics

The Supreme Court ruling has also highlighted religious-based challenges to Obamacare, and the Morning Consult poll found that Protestants and Roman Catholics strongly oppose the Affordable Care Act. Perhaps surprisingly, the healthcare law doesn’t get much of a bump from atheists or agnostics either.

Atheists and agnostics made up 21 percent of those interviewed in the Morning Consult poll, and 74 percent of them said they identified as either Democratic or Independent. Overall, likely voters disapprove of the healthcare law by a 55 to 42 split, with only a slim majority of likely secular voters saying they approve.

The poll found that atheists and agnostics are pessimistic about the future of the law.

And more believe it should be repealed, rather than left as is.

With tepid support from secular voters, the Obama administration can rely on African Americans to buoy support for the health law.

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One Response

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  1. Mike
    Jul 07, 2014 - 06:08 PM

    I think this poll reflects that employees are, in general, scared to purchase health insurance on their own. Since WWII group health insurance has been “the way” employees receive access to healthcare. Purchasing health insurance on their own is a new experience, and can be scary.

    I would be curious to see the results of the poll if employees were asked how they feel about their employer sending them to the individual market, if their employer would still help with the cost of their health insurance, and provide employees assistance with selecting a plan.

    That’s because many are employers are doing just that — sending employees to the individual market and contributing to their healthcare with an employer-funded contribution toward individual health insurance premiums. The employer contribution along with the premium tax credits make individual health insurance very affordable.

    I also wonder how many of the respondents polled understand that individual insurance is usually a good deal cheaper than employer-provided insurance and how many respondents haven’t run the numbers. Individual health insurance is also portable, which means you can keep it even if you lose your job. The number one cause of bankruptcy is medical bankruptcy after losing your health insurance because you lose your job when you are too sick or injured to work.

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