ACA & The New Normal

ACA Influencing How Employers Fund and Deliver Workplace Benefits

Employers are challenged with administrative and compliance requirements

NEW YORK, N.Y., November 3, 2015 — The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is causing employers to consider new approaches to benefits funding and delivery.

The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America® (Guardian), one of the nation’s largest mutual life insurers and a leading provider of employee benefits, today announced these new findings from the third annual Guardian Workplace Benefits StudySM.

Employers need guidance on how to manage the challenges they expect under the ACA, including new administrative and compliance requirements, in addition to the demands of offering employees benefits choices and enhancing the enrollment experience while controlling costs and funding.

Sixty-one percent of employers cite “preparing for a post-healthcare reform era” as a highly important benefits objective, but only four in ten feel prepared to meet this objective.

The ACA Terrain

Facing a myriad of reforms and regulations, 60 percent of employers say they need help managing the ACA terrain. As companies reassess their approach to benefits, three trends are gaining momentum: increased outsourcing; reliance on private exchanges; and consideration of self-insurance.

  • One in three employers expect to outsource more aspects of their benefits program as a direct result of the ACA. Nearly 70 percent of employers expect greater compliance and administrative burdens.
  • About 20 percent of employers expect to offer benefits on a private exchange in the next year. Top reasons are to increase employee choice and to improve the employee experience. Seven in ten employers say it is highly important to offer benefits that meet their employees’ personal needs and help them make better benefits choices.
  • Of those thinking of self-insuring, 58 percent say the ACA is the impetus and half of those planning to self-insure expect to carry stop loss insurance. Self-insuring medical plans is a less common funding option for smaller firms but is receiving increased attention due to the ACA. Seventy-eight percent of employers expect benefit cost increases due to the ACA, impacting an employer’s health benefits offering.

An infographic outlining the top challenges and emerging trends for employers can be accessed here: infographic.

Brokers and carriers are needed to play a strategic role in helping employers navigate the ACA

“Brokers and carriers are needed to play a strategic role in helping employers navigate the ACA and in identifying the best options for how they can move forward in a changed benefits landscape,” said Ray Marra, Senior Vice President, Group Products at Guardian. “As employers adapt to the ACA, we’re seeing greater adoption of private exchanges and self-funded medical plans paired with stop loss insurance, so employers can deliver the workplace benefits their employees rely on while addressing the challenges they are facing.”

For more information about Guardian’s Workplace Benefits or to obtain a copy of The Guardian Workplace Benefits Study SM: Third Annual, please visit or Guardian Anytime.




About the Survey
The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America® (Guardian) conducted the Guardian Workplace Benefits Study to showcase how the workplace remains a foundation of financial security for many American households, and how employees rely on benefits for overall feelings of financial preparedness.
This study presents findings from two online surveys conducted in the fall of 2014 of benefits decision-makers (“Employers”) and from a survey of 1,706 benefits plan participants (“Employees”), age 22 or older, who work full time for a U.S. company with at least five employees.
About Guardian
The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America® (Guardian) is one of the largest mutual life insurers, with $6.8 billion in capital and $1.3 billion in operating income in 2014. Founded in 1860, the company has paid dividends to policyholders every year since 1868. Its offerings range from life insurance, disability income insurance, annuities, and investments for individuals to workplace benefits, such as dental, vision, and 401(k) plans. The company has approximately 6,000 employees and a network of over 3,000 financial representatives in more than 70 agencies nationwide. For more information about Guardian, please visit
Financial information concerning The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, as of December 31, 2014, on a statutory basis: Admitted Assets = $45.3 Billion; Liabilities = $39.6 Billion (including $34.9 Billion of Reserves); and Surplus = $5.7 Billion. Dividends are not guaranteed. They are declared annually by Guardian’s Board of Directors.