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Survey: 54% of employees say health law will increase their insurance costs

A survey by the National Business Group on Health released earlier this week finds that more than half of employees, 54 percent, believe the federal health-care law will increase how much they pay for insurance over the next 12 months.

“They're worried about the Affordable Care Act and its impact on them,” said Helen Darling, president and chief executive officer of the non-profit association, representing more than 375 large employers. The diverse coalition includes companies such as Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart and JP Morgan Chase.

But the survey also shows that a growing number of workers are more confident overall in their ability to obtain coverage. Some 72 percent of respondents said they are either “somewhat,” “extremely” or “very” confident in their ability to acquire a health plan on the open market. This number is up from 63 percent a year earlier.

“Employees have clearly gained confidence in the last year when it comes to purchasing health care on their own,” Darling said. “They have a slightly more positive view and I think that will increase overtime.”

Many employees, however, are skeptical about the types of plans that they might find on the open market. Nearly half of them, 47 percent, said they aren’t confident they can find a health plan of the same or better quality.

Darling said the survey shows that employers need to help their workers understand the health-care act and its subsequent changes to the current system. While respondents generally knew about specific provisions in the act, only four in 10 were familiar with the entire act.

“While employees have some knowledge about the ACA [Affordable Care Act], they need to recognize that health reform brings with it additional costs for their employers and that, ultimately, they will be sharing in these costs,” she said. “Neither employers nor the government can bear these added costs alone.”

The survey sampled the opinions of 1,520 employees who work for large companies employing 2,000 or more workers. It was conducted between July 30 and Aug. 8, before the Oct. 1 enrollment start date for the health-care law.