While companies will be coping with many changes in employeehealth insurance brought on by the U.S. healthcare reform enactedin 2010, their biggest concern is the excise tax looming in 2018.Starting that year, companies will have to pay a 40% tax on thevalue of health coverage that costs more than $10,200 forindividuals and $27,500 for family plans.

Given the current cost of health insurance and the pace at whichmedical costs are increasing, “many of the employers we work withwill hit this threshold,” says Jeanne Wyand, a senior consultant atTowers Watson.

The healthcare law, PPACA, also specifies that companies' healthplans cover 60% of health expenses, and Wyand sees that requirementcombining with the excise tax to create a squeeze for employers.“At some point in time, these two lines are going to converge,” shesays.

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Susan Kelly

Susan Kelly is a business journalist who has written for Treasury & Risk, FierceCFO, Global Finance, Financial Week, Bridge News and The Bond Buyer.