- Employee Health Costs a Top Concern of Local Governments. The cost of employee health care benefits is one of the top two concerns reported by local governments. A full 71% listed "employee health care costs" as one of their top three general operating concerns, ranking below "Budget" (93%) and ranking far ahead of the next closest concern, "Service Delivery" (41%) on the list of priorities.
- Cutting Healthcare Costs. When asked, "What approaches are you taking to reduce your health care expenses/claim costs?" the four most popular answers for actions already taken were: "increase the share of total health care costs paid by employees" (51%), "audit or review eligibility or enrollment in your health plan" (46%), "actively manage communication to educate customers on health care costs and living a healthier lifestyle" (43%), and "significantly increase pharmacy copays, deductibles or coinsurance" (42%).
- Local Governments Cite Four Major Obstacles to a Healthy Workforce. Local governments identified four primary obstacles to developing a healthy workforce: "lack of employee engagement" (mentioned by 65% of local governments), "lack of sufficient financial incentives to encourage participation in programs" (65%), "lack of adequate budget to support effective health management programs" (60%), and "too many other demands on employees/not enough time" (54%).
- Uncertainty Remains About Effects and Implementation of Affordable Care Act. Several questions asked local governments directly about their plans and understanding of federal health care legislation passed in 2010. Specifically:
- Most local governments "need to learn more" about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. When asked, "What is your level of understanding of the Health Care Reform legislation?" the vast majority of local government respondents - 63% - said "Partially understand, need to learn more." Comparatively, 18% of respondents said, "completely understand the legislation but need to assess impact," 12% indicated, "completely understand the legislation and its impact on our health benefits," and 7% said, "have heard about it, but don't understand the legislation or its impact on our benefits."
- Most local governments plan to take a "wait and see" approach on potential changes due to Affordable Care Act. When asked whether they planned to make any changes to employees' health care benefits as a result of the health reform legislation, 54% said they would "wait and see how it unfolds; unwilling to speculate," while 44% said "no changes were currently planned." A miniscule percentage indicated plans to drop health coverage for any class of employee.