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Red State Businesses More Likely to Say Workers Are On Their Own Under Obamacare

NEW YORK (BankingMyWay) — While there is plenty of room for debate about the merits and drawbacks of the Affordable Care Act, known more colloquially as Obamacare, consumers should know that how the act affects them may depend on where they live.

Specifically, in a so-called “red” versus “blue” state.

Data from New York City-based GfK/Research says one of the largest factors will be how businesses manage employee health care under the new rules.

Evidently, firms in more conservative (red) states, according to GfK, are more likely than liberal (blue) states to "change benefit plans" if and when Obamacare is fully implemented, "away from the traditional model of employer-sponsored health benefits and toward the use of health insurance exchanges."

GfK looked at health care plans and strategies at 504 U.S. companies spread evenly among red and blue states (and swing states as well) and found a “clear difference” on how employers in conservative and liberal-leaning states view health care reform.

The firm says benefits managers in red states are more likely to view health care reform as bad for the corporate bottom line, with 59% of managers at red state companies saying health care costs will rise more than if no reform had been passed. That’s not all that higher than company managers in swing states, where 58% hold the same view.

In blue states, only 46% of benefits managers say heath care costs will cost more under Obamacare than if health care reform had failed to pass into law.

For consumers in red states, that could mean a faster path to health care exchanges as conservative-leaning companies bow out of providing heath care plans and accept fees and tax penalties from the government for doing so. GfK says companies that stop providing health care insurance believe they spend less money on those taxes and penalties than they would in embracing health care reform.

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