Given how often health insurance carriers keep employers guessing — on rates, on claims data, etc. — it must be nice that carriers are the ones doing the guesswork, just this once.

According to Kaiser Health News, the CEOs for United Health and Cigna are speculating on whether employers will continue to offer health benefits after 2014, or instead pay the fine and send employees on their way to the exchanges.

On one hand, United Health CEO Stephen Hemsley told attendees at a recent investor conference that he thinks employers will play, not pay. “Under the law passed in March, companies still face costs for employees' coverage even if they buy it through the exchanges. Keeping their own plans will give employers the best chance of controlling medical expenses.”

At the same conference, KHN reports, Cigna CEO David Cordani said that on the other hand, “some [employers] may decide it is cheaper to let people buy on their own through the purchasing exchanges. I believe the employer-sponsored space will change over the next five years and some employers will indeed opt out.”

Are you ready to tip your hand to Hemsley, Cordani and their peers? Has your company decided whether you’ll play or pay? Sound off in the comments.

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