Health reform and consumer-driven health care

Consumer-driven health care gives people more control over benefit management, but a 2013 Aflac Work Forces Report reveals consumers may not fully want that power.

The changes outlined in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) seem to leave many people confused about their access to health care. Based on findings in the Aflac report, while employers are offering more consumer-driven health care, employees are weary and unsure of taking benefits into their own hands.

Employer Issues

Employers are faced with two major concerns: curbing costs while providing great benefits for employees - this according to 40% of large businesses, 48% of medium-sized businesses, and 47% of small businesses, Aflac reported.

Top Consumer Issues

A lack of formal education on health reform appears to be a big concern.

A majority of consumers "are not very or not all knowledgeable" about health exchanges (both federal and state), and 76% believe health reform overall is "too complicated."

A majority of workers agree with the statement, "I believe my employer will educate me about changes to my health care coverage as a result of the health care reform," but health reform education is really only a top concern for 13% of employers.

"Consumer-directed health care" is something that 72% of workers are not familiar with - and if people had heard of it (38%), they did not seem to sufficiently understand it. Others seem worried about taking control over their benefits management for various reasons ranging from leaving their family "less protected" to not having the time to manage it. People who support higher benefit management believe it will save them money in the long run, and result in better control of their insurance.

FSA & Health Reform

Luckily, Flexible Spending Accounts are not too complicated as far as future health reform goes.

In 2013, there will be a yearly cap on flex spending account contributions of $2,500 per person. If two spouses have an FSA, that would be up to $5,000 a year.

Read more about health reform via the FSA Learning Center.

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