For Immediate Release
Washington, DC – The following statement should be attributed to James Gelfand, senior vice president of health policy, The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC):
“Today’s release of the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET) 2016 Employer Health Benefits Survey highlights the growing importance of employer-sponsored health insurance plans.
ERIC is the only national trade association that advocates for large employers on health, retirement and compensation public policy on the federal, state and local levels. Our members sponsor some of the largest private group health plans in the country. They design plans for their workforces in a way that will maximize benefits for their employees and families, while keeping insurance affordable for workers.
ERIC members also drive improvements and innovations in health coverage; ERIC members are on the forefront of designing value-driven insurance plans, implementing wellness plans to keep beneficiaries healthy, offering onsite clinics, and promoting telemedicine as a convenient option for employees. It is this kind of innovation that has helped keep employer-sponsored health insurance costs from rising as quickly as the skyrocketing costs of individual market plans.
Although ERIC continues to engage in efforts to get health care costs under control, employer-sponsored health insurance remains more predictable and manageable than plans on public health exchanges, many of which are struggling and in some cases folding. Employer-sponsored health insurance provides stability for millions of workers and their families across the nation.
ERIC members spend considerable resources to sponsor high-quality, cost-efficient health insurance benefits. Unfortunately, plan sponsors and face a tremendous challenge in the Affordable Care Act’s 40 percent excise tax, in part because the tax applies unfairly based on factors out of an employer’s control, such as geography and the demographics of the workforce. The tax is scheduled to go into effect in 2020, forcing many employers to search for ways to avoid this massive new tax, including increasing cost-sharing, radically changing plan design, or eliminating critical benefits that employees currently enjoy.
The unnecessary burden of the 40 percent excise tax and the potentially catastrophic impact it could have on stable employer-sponsored health insurance plans, is why ERIC continues to fight for, and work with Congressional leaders to achieve, a full repeal of the tax, without creating a new tax on benefits in its place.”