Survey highlights challenges of managing health care costs

by Dan Malovany
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Do companies plan to reduce employee benefits in 2014 to help manage health care costs? Some do. Most won’t, at least at this time, according to Baking & Snack’s annual capital spending survey. In fact, 22% of bakers plan to reduce benefits while 64% said they would not cut them and 14% were not sure. Not surprisingly, a greater share (29%) of smaller companies (annual revenues under $25 million) plan to slice benefits than larger ones (19%).

As the result of Obamacare, 9% of those surveyed are replacing full-time workers with part-timers, and 8% are hiring temporary workers for full-time positions. The majority, 53%, replied Affordable Care Act (A.C.A.) will not affect hiring plans while 30% said they were “not sure,” signaling uncertainty about the impact of health care reform. Additionally, the survey allowed comments on the new health care requirements.

Bakers noted A.C.A. increased their companies’ costs, which were then passed on to employees in many cases. Others suggested the new law affected their profitability. Many also indicated that they are raising deductibles, if possible, and making other changes in their health care plans to minimize costs while several others are waiting to see the law’s effect on their businesses in 2015. For more information, see the February issue of Baking & Snack magazine.
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