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Employers back inclusion of certain ACA provisions in new reform law

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While more than 40% of employers said they view the Affordable Care Act more negatively now than when President Barack Obama signed the landmark legislation into law more than six years ago, many say they back inclusion of key ACA provisions as part of a new reform legislation, according to a new survey.

The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans survey, released Wednesday, found that 37.7% back the inclusion of an ACA provision that bans plans from denying coverage for pre-existing medical conditions and requires plans to offer coverage to employees' adult children up to age 26.

“Employers have seen certain ACA provisions have a positive impact on their workforce,” Julie Stich, research director at the Brookfield, Wisconsin-based IFEBP, said in a statement.

“Mandates such as the elimination of pre-existing condition exclusions and coverage of children until age 26 have allowed employees and their families to receive health care services that have made a positive impact on their physical, financial and emotional well-being,” Ms. Stich added.

On the other hand, just 8.3% of respondents back inclusion in new health reform legislation of an ACA provision that requires employers to extend coverage to employees working as little as 30 hours a week or face a stiff financial penalty.

In addition, only 12.3% of respondents favor putting into new legislation an ACA provision that sets a 90-day maximum waiting period for new employees to be eligible for coverage. And just 5.6% back retaining the ACA limit of the maximum annual contribution employees can make to their flexible spending accounts.

The ACA imposed, effective in 2013, a $2,500 annual limit, which due to inflation adjustments is currently $2,550. Prior to the ACA, employers often set the annual FSA contribution limit at between $4,000 and $5,000.

The survey, conducted in March, is based on the responses of 446 benefits and human resources professionals.