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Employers Significantly Modified Healthcare Insurance Benefits In 2013

In advance of Obamacare, companies modified their healthcare insurance plans during 2013.

The results hit employees with families as changes in deductibles, co-pays and other parts of healthcare services were heightened in anticipation of new rules in 2014.

Results from the United Benefit Advisors (UBA) 2013 Health Plan Survey, the nation’s largest health plan benchmarking survey, indicated shifts in employer focus as costs to employees appear to rise.

At the same time, the survey showed drastic differences in employee health benefits cost and plan design across multiple regions of the United States.

One important metric is the fact tha in 2013 employers covered 18% more of a single employee’s health insurance premium or $934 per employee. On the other hand, employers asked employees with dependents to pick up 3% more of the family premium or $492.

Although families were hit hardest, the average worker also saw an overall increase in healthcare cost due to rising out-of-pocket costs. These included higher in-network deductibles; in-network co-insurance and significantly higher out-of-pocket maximums.

Other Key Trends By Region:

  • Preferred provider organization (PPO) plans continue to be the dominant plan type offered to employees nationally, with approximately 47.2 percent of all employees enrolled in this plan type, which is 4.7 percent more than are enrolled in health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs) combined.
  • CDHP plans are far more prevalent, however, in the Northeast where 28.8 percent of employees are enrolled in this plan type, compared to the Western region where only 15.1 percent of employees are in a CDHP and 29.9 percent are enrolled in an HMO.
  • Total Annual Cost Per Employee varies greatly across the U.S. For example, in the Northeast, an employer’s total annual cost for a single employee is $10,808; in the Southeast it is $7,846.

The size of UBA’s survey, with nearly 11,000 employers responding, allows employers to benchmark their plans based upon plan type, region, employee size and industry category, and gives them the best opportunity to see how their plan stacks up against competitors’ plans so they can better understand and communicate the value of their benefits to employees.

For example, when considering a mid-size firm in Atlanta, Ga. whose health plan cost for a single employee is $409, it is important to compare against regional benchmarks instead of national. When compared against the national average for all plans, their cost is $63 per month less; however, when compared with other CDHPs in the Southeast region, this employer’s cost is actually $26 per month more expensive than the average. 

Further still, compare this employer’s cost to its closest peers using a state-specific benchmark, which in Georgia is $419, and it becomes clear this employer’s monthly single premium is actually $10 less than its competitors in the state.

Thom Mangan, CEO of UBA. says “historically, benchmarking data of this kind were unavailable to small and midsize employers. Now, by using such detailed information, we are able to more accurately evaluate costs, and ultimately give employers of all sizes a competitive edge in recruiting and retaining a superior workforce.”

Download a copy of the 2013 UBA Health Plan Survey Executive Summary.


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