Largest Health Plan Survey Cites Key Trends for National and Massachusetts Employer Health Plans

Recognized as the only source for local and regional health plan data, EBS Capstone offers Massachusetts employers benefits benchmarking report.

NEWTON, Mass.    -In spite of the passage of health care reform legislation, health care costs will continue to increase for both plan sponsors and their employees, according to EBS Capstone, a Massachusetts based Member Firm of United Benefit Advisors (UBA), the nation’s largest independent benefits advisory organization. Preliminary results released by UBA from its 2012 UBA Health Plan Survey with 17,905 plans from 11,711 employers — and the only one of its kind to offer local benefits benchmarking capabilities — show some startling trends in employer health plans.

One trend that stands out in this year’s survey shows that employer sponsored health plans experienced an increase of 5% compared to 8.2% last year. In addition, more PPO, Consumer Directed Health Plans (CDHP) and HMO plans required and/or increased employee deductibles in 2012. This trend towards cost shifting to employees continues.
Other key National and Massachusetts statistics from this year’s survey results:
•    Massachusetts plans advised by EBS Capstone and other UBA Member Firms experienced a renewal for all plan types of 4.6%, down from 9.3% in 2011. This change in premium is due to insurance company negotiations, switching insurance carriers for lower rates and plan design changes.
•    PPO plans have nearly two-thirds of all enrolled employees (61.7%) nationally but only 20.4% in Massachusetts.
•    The average monthly employee contribution for plans with contributions for all plan types (HMO, PPO, and CDHP) is $126 for single coverage and $494 for non-single or family coverage nationally. $154 and $459 respectively for Massachusetts based employees.
•    This reflects the fact that Massachusetts based health plans are the third most expensive in the country after Alaska ($11,926) and New York ($11,308) at $11,004 per employee per year.
•    As a direct result of PPACA changes, 91.7% of all plans now offer an unlimited lifetime maximum benefit compared with 81.3% in 2011 and just 16.1% in 2010.
•    Less than half (48.0%) of all covered employees also elected to cover their dependents, a decline of 1.9% while 51.5% of Massachusetts employees cover their dependents which was unchanged from a year ago.
As health care plan offerings and the federal regulatory environment become more complex, benchmarking data such as the 2012 UBA Health Plan Survey have become increasingly critical for employers looking to manage their health care benefit programs effectively.
“The intent of the survey is to provide employers of all sizes with the data they need to manage their health care benefit programs effectively,” says Tom McCormick, Senior Partner, EBS Capstone. “Large employers will find the UBA Health Plan Survey provides more participants and data in their category than other industry survey. And for employers with fewer than 1,000 employees (which represents more than 99% of the employers in the U.S.) and for employers who have operations in multiple locations, this survey is the only source of reliable regional – and in many cases, state – health plan benchmarks by size and industry.”
EBS Capstone can provide employers with a benchmarking report for their region, industry and size, so businesses can determine which types of plans are most popular in their area, which plans are being phased out, average employee costs and participation, and highly relevant pieces of information that can help them negotiate their rates and communicate their plan advantages to employees.
With more Member Firms located in virtually all US markets, UBA uniquely provides employers of all sizes the data they need to remain competitive in their local markets. The 2012 UBA Health Plan Survey won’t be available to the public until Nov. 1. Employers can get inside access to the hundreds of thousands of pages of granular state, regional and industry data through a benchmarking report offered by EBS Capstone.
ABOUT THE 2012 UBA HEALTH PLAN SURVEY – With responses from 17,905 health plans sponsored by 11,711 employers nationwide, the 2012 UBA Health Plan Survey is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive survey of plan design and plan cost benchmarks. As the largest survey of its kind, the UBA Health Plan Survey defines benchmarks by a greater number of specific industries, regions and employer size categories than is available from any other resource. The 2011 UBA Benefit Opinions Survey (which delineates employers’ positions and opinions on Health Care Strategy, Health Benefits Philosophy and Opinion, Health Plan Management, Personal Health Management, Employee Communication, and Scope of Benefits Offered) serves as a companion piece to the 2012 UBA Health Plan Survey.
ABOUT EBS CAPSTONE – EBS Capstone is a full-service insurance advisor, providing employee benefits, property & casualty and retirement planning solutions. Whether your company is emerging or established, we are committed to providing you with superior customer service, innovative solutions and strategic advice to help you achieve your business goals. What makes us different is our partner-driven approach, dedicated team of experts who focus on critical disciplines and service areas and continuous investment in resources and technology.
ABOUT UNITED BENEFIT ADVISORS – United Benefit Advisors is a member-owned alliance of more than 140 premier independent benefit advisory firms with more than 200 offices throughout the U.S., Canada and the U.K., and is the nation’s largest independent benefits advisory organization. As trusted and knowledgeable advisors, UBA Members collaborate with more than 2,200 professionals to seek out ideas, insight, expertise and best-in-class solutions that positively impact employers and make a real difference in the lives of their employees and families. Employers, advisors and industry-related organizations interested in obtaining powerful results from our shared wisdom should visit UBA online to locate yourlocal UBA Member Firm.

“The intent of the survey is to provide employers of all sizes with the data they need to manage their health care benefit programs effectively”