Counties Offer Extensive Employee Health Coverage, Uncertain about Impact of ACA

Friday, July 11, 2014

America’s counties spend an estimated $20 billion-$24 billion on health insurance premiums each year, covering approximately 2.5 million county employees and nearly 2.4 million dependents, according to a new study by the National Association of Counties. The County Health Benefits 2014 report examines changes in health benefits coverage, cost-containment strategies, trends in wellness programs, coverage for retirees, and implementation of the Affordable Care Act – 42% of respondents to NACo’s survey indicated that the complexity of the law is causing confusion. The survey also noted that counties are paying close attention to the “Cadillac tax” – the 40% tax the ACA will level in 2018 on health plans that provide an annual benefit of more than $10,200 per participant. Counties are planning changes to avoid the tax, which would affect at least 6% of respondents. Sonoma County, California, for instance, estimates that its premiums would go up by $4.1 million a year as a result of the tax.