A handful of big-name firms and many small ones are making major changes to their health care plans this fall, and while some big companies are blaming the Affordable Care Act, insurance and economic experts call those claims an exaggeration.
Making health insurance changes, including big premium and deductible hikes when the rate of increase in health care costs has slowed, creates a "messaging issue," says University of Michigan business economics professor Thomas Buchmueller.
"That's not an easy conversation," says Buchmueller. "It's convenient to say, 'the ACA is raising our costs.'"
Big companies citing the ACA are "using this as cover," says Farzan Bharucha, a health care strategist for consulting firm Kurt Salmon. "Companies are making a business decision that by dropping or limiting coverage you won't have employees leave."