With health care costs growing more than two times the rate of inflation consistently over the years, and employers growing weary of increasing deductibles and cost shares, an old idea has resurfaced for employers: Referenced Based Pricing (RBP) programs. Under Obamacare, the transparency of costs among providers has become more commonplace, thereby enabling these types of programs.
According to UnitedHealthcare’s 2018 Consumer Sentiment Survey, 77% of respondents with health benefits said they felt prepared to select their health plan during the upcoming open enrollment. When looking at the different generations in the workforce, 81% of Baby Boomers felt prepared as well as 80% of Gen Xers. However, the Millennials reported feeling the least certain of the three generations with only 69% reporting that they are prepared.
The results are in for ASE’s 2018 Healthcare Insurance Benefits Survey. A total of 215 organizations participated in the latest study, which examines the premiums, deductibles, and co-pays for employer-sponsored health plans across Michigan. Highlights from the survey are listed below:
Employers that work on a calendar year budget are starting to think about budget planning for 2019. The cost of health insurance is a major concern for employers. Locally, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan announces 2019 insurance increases in late October or the first part of November. If increases stay below 10%, employers may decide their level of benefits can stay the same another year. Higher than that, and co-pays and deductibles as well as insurance benefit packages get analyzed...
Employer health care spending has grown from 6% of total wages in 1988 to more than 12% in 2018. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimate that this growth will continue, with national health spending projected to be 20% of the economy by 2026. Employers are seeking innovative approaches to keeping healthcare costs down.
A lawsuit by 20 states was filed in federal court in Texas challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in February. Texas argues that last year’s tax reform law, which stripped the ACA of the individual mandate, made the ACA unconstitutional. If the individual mandate is stripped away, the Department of Justice (DOJ), agreeing with Texas, argues that two other key parts of Obamacare should fall with it.
As of January 2017, 52 health insurance providers reported 21.8 million HSA/HDHP enrollees, up from 20.2 million in 2016. This is according to a recently released survey from America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) who also reported a 9.2% increase in enrollment in HSA/HDHP from 2016 to 2017 in an analysis of a constant sample of 45 health plans.
A survey of articles on the effectiveness of dependent eligibility audits show employers, on average, find between 4-8% of current participants ineligible for their healthcare plan coverage. In some cases, ineligible dependents constituted for 15% of the dependents receiving health care benefits. The average cost per ineligible dependent to the employer is between $3,500 and $4,500 per year.
Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the requirements of the ACA have profoundly impacted small employer plans (under 50 employees) by raising costs at a faster rate than large employer plans.
As we approach the end of 2017 many employers will once again be looking at health care costs in anticipation of mitigating health plan premium increases.
ASE recently released the results of our 2017 Healthcare Insurance Benefits Survey. 48% of Michigan employers surveyed have either implemented or plan to implement telemedicine services in 2017. This is a rising trend in healthcare that encompasses two-way video, email, smartphones, and other technology to make a virtual diagnosis.
The Senate Bill for the repeal of the ACA was introduced Thursday, June 22nd. The bill is very similar to the House bill. However, both the House and Senate bills would likely lead to higher cost healthcare policies with reduced benefits. For example, both the House and Senate bills allow states to reduce the number of essential health benefits that policies would be required to cover, thus leading to a cap on costs on formerly essential benefits, such as maternity benefits.
As many report, the ACA is suffering because of the lack of providers and funding. Actual plans marketed by the exchanges are getting more expensive and serve primarily as catastrophic insurance. Employers, driven by the limited qualified labor market, have to offer better healthcare options to employees due to attraction and retention efforts, but even those efforts have limitations as costs are rising for the employer.
Health reform is back in the news for multiple reasons. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) (H.R. 1628) by a vote of 217 to 213. This law was prepared specifically to avoid a filibuster in the Senate by using the same budget reconciliation methodology used to pass the ACA. In this way, a simple majority in the Senate can pass the law.
As revealed in ASE’s 2016 Healthcare Insurance Benefit Survey one of the top cost containment strategies that Michigan employers are using to reduce healthcare costs are Wellness Programs. In fact, 37% of Michigan employers either currently have a plan or intend to create one in 2016. Are they working?