Employers Aren't Ready for Obamacare, but Are Dumping Your Spousal Coverage

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — With open enrollment only a month away, companies are way behind the curve in explaining to workers how their health care coverage will change Oct. 1.

Aflac, the Columbus, Ga. insurance provider, says seven out of 10 U.S. companies have yet to communicate health care benefits changes to staffers, with only 9% of U.S. companies being "very prepared" to make the necessary changes to their health care coverage mandated by ACA reform rules.

The firm's latest Open Enrollment Survey also says workers aren't studying how their coverage may change and what options they may have to look at (and live with) come October:

  • 60% of workers "have not begun to educate themselves" on imminent changes to their health care benefits stemming from health care reform.
  • 37% of employees think it will "be more difficult to understand" all of the new data in their health care policy with the changes mandated by the Affordable Care Act.
  • 28% of workers are either "confused, worried or simply unsure" about the change their employers are making to their health care coverage or benefits options due to health care reform.
  • 74% of U.S. employees "sometimes or never understand" everything covered by their insurance policy today.

That most employers expect to see "more gaps in insurance coverage" and "more costs" to employers and employees after Oct. 1 leads to another disturbing trend: Companies and organizations are dropping health benefits for employee spouses, further adding to angst among workers over the ACA. Just this month, United Parcel Service and the University of Virginia shed spousal coverage due to the feared higher costs of health insurance coverage.

UVA says health care reform will add $7.3 million to the university's health care coverage bill for its 13,600 employees next year. That means "major changes" for university employees.