People Report, a TDN2K (Transforming Data Into Knowledge) company, released in partnership with Castlight Health the results of an extensive study looking into the impact of health-care reform as it pertains to the restaurant industry. The People Report 2013 Health Care Reform Update reports on data from the nation’s best-known restaurant operators. When comparing data from the same study conducted in 2012, several significant changes were noted, including the way restaurant brands are responding to health-care reform. However, an area in which there has been no change was in restaurant companies mentioning rising costs as their main concern related to the effects of the Affordable Care Act. In fact, the same percentage of companies (93 percent) said they expected their health-care costs to increase as a result of this legislation. The average health-care cost increase expected by restaurant companies is 25 percent for 2015.
The People Report 2013 Health Care Reform Update also revealed a stark contrast in how restaurant companies planned to handle offering coverage. At the end of 2012, only two-thirds of restaurant companies planned to offer coverage to all employees defined as eligible under the Affordable Care Act while one-third said it would opt to pay penalties rather than cover some employees. However, at the end of 2013 almost all companies surveyed plan to offer health care to all eligible employees.
“Our research also indicated that this year more companies are already complying with the new requirements even though the employer mandate has still not been enforced,” says Victor Fernandez, executive director of Insights and Knowledge for TDn2K. “Two out of every three restaurant companies said their health plans for 2014 are considered affordable for their employees according to the law’s guidelines, compared with only 41 percent a year ago. Almost 80 percent of the companies said their plans provide qualifying coverage to their employees as defined by the law, compared with only about 60 percent of the companies in 2013.”