Employers across the country may be expecting to offset higher health care costs through private health exchanges and boosting wellness offerings. However, HR leaders interviewed in a new PricewaterhouseCoopers report say that the push to private exchanges is being fueled by C-suite executives and not benefits professionals.

Through a recent series of six employer roundtables held in New York, Chicago and Atlanta, PwC found that there seems to be differing opinions among HR leaders and other executives over how to address the Affordable Care Act’s implications.  

“Much of the corporate interest in private exchanges is coming from leadership and finance, not HR,” says one response in the report from PwC’s Human Resources Services, a global network of 6,000 HR practitioners.

The December 2013 roundtable initiative concludes, however, that the “value proposition for private exchanges is likely to improve over time.”

The cusp of the problem for most employers is worry over the ACA’s “pay or play” penalties and the impending 2018 excise tax, commonly known as the Cadillac tax.

Additionally, wellness programs were lauded as a possible option to improve overall employee happiness and health. The roundtables discussions found that many employers were focusing “more on total employee well-being” and less on improving the health of their workforce.

“There is a big correlation between happy employees and business outcomes,” PwC states in the report.  

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