Health Benefits Tax a Concern to Workers

In a survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, more than half of workers in the U.S. said they would look for a cheaper insurance plan – or even drop their coverage – if Congress decides to tax health benefits. The proposal for such a tax has been floated as a way to raise revenue to help reduce the federal deficit. The survey – entitled the “2012 Health Confidence Survey” – reported that if the value of their benefits became taxable, 26 percent of workers said they’d switch to a less costly plan, 21 percent said they would shop for their own coverage directly from insurers and 9 percent said they would likely drop coverage altogether. The Employee Benefit Research Institute also noted that “while changes resulting from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act have raised concerns as to whether employers will continue to offer health coverage in the future, the survey finds that health benefits remain a key factor for workers in choosing a job, and health insurance in particular continues to be by far, the most important employee benefit to workers.” The survey indicated that 15 percent of workers asked said they would trade wages to get more health benefits.