United Benefit Advisors Reveals 2014 Industry Trends Among Employer Sponsored Health Plans | Bay Area Employee Benefits

Posted by: Bill Olson

Survey finds public employees still most costly to insure yet contribute 45% less than the average employee and nearly 40% less than two years ago
Indianapolis, IN – [January 13, 2015] – New survey data from the 2014 United Benefit Advisors Health Plan Survey, the nation’s largest health plan survey of nearly 10,000 employers, reveals differences among employer sponsored health plans across various industries, looking specifically at employer cost versus employee contribution.
UBA, the nation’s leading independent employee benefits advisory organization, finds that the average total cost per employee in 2014 was $9,504, of which the average employer cost was $6,276 and average employee contribution, $3,228.
Government (Public Administration) health insurance plans have the highest average cost per employee at $11,329 (17.5% higher than average), with the lowest employee contribution of $2,040, which is 45% less than the average employee. Surprisingly, this already low contribution is an astounding 39.7% lower than two years ago when public employees contributed $3,051.
“The government sector historically has provided generous employee benefits,” says Les McPhearson, CEO of UBA. “The risk that taxpayers face is the forthcoming ‘Cadillac Tax’ if public employers can’t get their health care costs under the $10,200 premium threshold. The Cadillac Tax is hefty – a non-deductible 40% excise tax on the excess benefit – which would increase the average cost per employee.”
Employer cost per employee for the manufacturing, health care, construction, retail, and hospitality services sectors are all 4% to 8% lower than the overall industry average costs, making employees in these industries the least expensive to cover. Employees in the construction industry are one of the least expensive for employers to cover at $5,373 per employee, but contribute the most toward their health benefits paying $3,620, approximately 11% higher than the average.
“The construction industry tends to be made up of young, single males who value higher hourly wages over health benefits,” says Josh Budke, employee benefits advisor with TrueNorth Companies, LLC, a UBA Partner Firm. “Even ‘free’ benefits with no copays, like wellness exams and physicals, don’t get utilized in this industry as much as in others, which leads to a lower cost and higher benefit contribution.”
“In the past, a significant percentage of the employees in the construction and food services industries, many of whom are young, did not value a health plan as part of their compensation package,” says Scott Niederbrach, Principal, Cherry Creek Benefits, a UBA Partner Firm. “Employers responded by not including them and building a business in a relatively small margin industry without the health plan in the business formula. Now that PPACA [the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act] requires the offering of a health plan to avoid the shared responsibility penalty, the employer is crafting a health plan offering that pegs the price of the plan close to the threshold of the definition of affordability under the regulations. The young demographic of these employees would be expected to lead to a lower health plan cost.”
For further details about industry trends among employer sponsored health plans, download a copy of the 2014 UBA Health Plan Survey Executive Summary at http://bit.ly/15OtisN or contact Carina Sammartino at csammartino@fishervista.com.
About the UBA Health Plan Survey
Data in the 2014 UBA Health Plan Survey is based on responses from 9,950 employers sponsoring 16,467 health plans nationwide. The survey’s focus is intended to provide a current snapshot of the nation’s employers rather than covered employees. Results are applicable to the small to midsize market that makes up a majority of American businesses, as well as to larger employers, providing benchmarking data on a more detailed level than any other survey.
The 2014 UBA Health Plan Survey offers more than national data and UBA recommends that employers benchmark with local data, which is more effective when adjusting plan design, negotiating rates, and communicating value to employees.
Contact a UBA Partner Firm for a customized benchmark survey based on industry, region and business size.
About United Benefit Advisors
United Benefit Advisors is the nation’s leading independent employee benefits advisory organization with more than 200 offices throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. As trusted and knowledgeable advisors, UBA Partners collaborate with more than 2,000 fellow professionals to deliver expertise, thought leadership 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 the shared wisdom of our Partners should visit UBA online at www.UBAbenefits.com.
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