Healthcare Affordability Test Looms

About a third of U.S. companies could find themselves in violation of a provision of the recently enacted healthcare reform measure because some of their employees might not able to afford the health care coverage they provide, according to an analysis by human resources consultancy Mercer.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) defines "affordable" health insurance as coverage that costs employees no more than 9.5% of their household income. Using data from its 2009 survey of nearly 3,000 employers that sponsor health plans, Mercer estimates that 38% of the companies have some employees for whom health coverage would be unaffordable. Bigger employers are in better shape, but not immune; 20% of companies with 20,000 or more employers would have a problem.

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