Most Business Executives Prefer Repeal of Affordable Care Act, AICPA Survey Finds

Expectation Is for Health Care Cost Increases in 2017 and 2018, Regardless of Legislative Outcome

The American Institute of CPAs asked CEOs, CFOs and other senior-level CPAs for their views on health care costs in the coming year. (Graphic: Business Wire)

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NEW YORK--()--Most business executives want to see the Affordable Care Act repealed, a survey of CEOs, chief financial officers and other senior-level CPAs by the American Institute of CPAs found. But they also expect their company’s health care expenses to rise this year and next, no matter what happens in Capitol Hill deliberations on the fate of the sweeping health care insurance law.

Asked their preference for action on the Affordable Care Act, 61 percent of respondents to the first-quarter AICPA Economic Outlook Survey said they preferred “repeal and replace,” while another 10 percent said they wanted to see the health care coverage program repealed and not replaced. Almost one-in-five respondents (18 percent) said they preferred to leave the law as is. Ten percent said they weren’t sure which option they preferred. The survey questions were fielded before the Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans unveiled their own version of a health care coverage plan, the American Health Care Act, earlier this month.

Despite the uncertainty over health care reform, an overwhelming majority (80 percent) of business executives said they expected at least some additional expense for their employer-provided health care plans this year, with 43 percent saying they expected an increase in the range of six to 10 percent and 26 percent estimating a rise in the one to five percent range. Eleven percent said they expected an increase of 11 to 20 percent.

A similar percentage (81 percent) said they expected an increase in 2018, although in a slightly lower mix than 2017.

“Business executives now cite ‘employee and benefit costs’ as the top challenge facing their companies,” said Arleen R. Thomas, CPA, CGMA, managing director of Americas Market, Global Offerings & CGMA Exam, Management Accounting for the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants. “A year ago, that category was No. 6 on the list, and it’s clear health care costs are a major concern driving this upward shift.”

Business executives said the most popular, currently employed strategies for containing health care costs are higher deductibles for employees (65 percent), higher co-pays (49 percent) and employer-sponsored wellness programs (41 percent). Those three items also top the list for companies contemplating new cost-containment strategies in the coming year. Other strategies include a push toward health savings accounts and a shift to self-insurance pools.

Methodology

The first-quarter AICPA Business and Industry Economic Outlook Survey was conducted Feb. 7-22, 2017, and included 930 qualified responses from CPAs who hold leadership positions, such as chief financial officer or controller, in their companies. The overall margin of error is less than 3 percentage points. A copy of the report can be found on aicpa.org, with the Affordable Care Act responses starting on slide 43.

About the AICPA

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is the world’s largest member association representing the accounting profession, with more than 418,000 members in 143 countries, and a history of serving the public interest since 1887. AICPA members represent many areas of practice, including business and industry, public practice, government, education and consulting.

The AICPA sets ethical standards for the profession and U.S. auditing standards for private companies, nonprofit organizations, federal, state and local governments. It develops and grades the Uniform CPA Examination, and offers specialty credentials for CPAs who concentrate on personal financial planning; forensic accounting; business valuation; and information management and technology assurance. Through a joint venture with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), it has established the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation which sets a new standard for global recognition of management accounting.

The AICPA maintains offices in New York, Washington, DC, Durham, NC, and Ewing, NJ.

Media representatives are invited to visit the AICPA Press Center at www.aicpa.org/press.

About the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants

The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (the Association) combines the strengths of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) to power opportunity, trust and prosperity for people, businesses and economies worldwide. It represents 650,000 members and students in public and management accounting and advocates for the public interest and business sustainability on current and emerging issues. With broad reach, rigor and resources, the Association advances the reputation, employability and quality of CPAs, CGMAs and accounting and finance professionals globally.

Contacts

American Institute of CPAs (AICPA)
Gil Nielsen, 212-596-6008
gilbert.nielsen@aicpa-cima.com
or
Jeff May, 212-596-6122
jeffrey.may@aicpa-cima.com
or
Gary Davis, 919-402-4557
gary.davis@aicpa-cima.com

Release Summary

Most business executives favor repeal of the Affordable Care Act, but expect company health care costs to go up in 2017 and 2018 regardless of potential changes to the law, an AICPA survey found.

Contacts

American Institute of CPAs (AICPA)
Gil Nielsen, 212-596-6008
gilbert.nielsen@aicpa-cima.com
or
Jeff May, 212-596-6122
jeffrey.may@aicpa-cima.com
or
Gary Davis, 919-402-4557
gary.davis@aicpa-cima.com