UBA 2013 Health Plan Survey Shows Major Differences in Health Benefits, Costs in RI Versus Nationally

WARWICK RI – UBA member firm Cornerstone Group today released results from the United Benefit Advisors (UBA) 2013 Health Plan Survey, the nation’s largest health plan benchmarking survey. Among the trends revealed, the most dramatic was the difference in plan designs across the country that have a significant impact on plan costs.

The survey results include the responses of 10,551 employers and 16,928 health plans and is intended to provide employers with comparative data regarding plan costs, employee contributions and plan designs that will allow them to benchmark their plan against those of similar employers. While other surveys primarily target large employers, this survey focuses on reporting results that are applicable to the small to midsize companies that represent the overwhelming majority of Rhode Island employers.

Among the key findings relevant to local employers include:

  • Employee Cost: In 2013, the average annual cost per employee for all plans nationally was $9,302. But that amount was higher in the Northeast; in fact, in Rhode Island, the average annual cost was $10, 171.
  • Premium Trend: Despite employees facing rising costs in the state, the annual increase last year was below the national average. The most recent annual average increase across all plans was 5.5%, compared to 3.1% in Rhode Island.
  • CDHPs: Nationally, just 24.1% of employers offered consumer-driven health plans (Health Savings Accounts or Health Reimbursement Arrangements) while, in Rhode Island, that figure jumped to 58.4%.
  • Prescription Drug Coverage: While there was an increase nationally in employers offering four-tier drug plan (which enables them to pass on the cost of the most expensive drugs to employees), the percentage of Rhode Island employers offering the plans was well above average. Nationally, 27.9% of employers offered four tiers while in Rhode Island, 68.8% did.
  • Wellness Programs: Adoption of corporate wellness continues to be higher in Rhode Island. Nationally, 19.2% of employers offered wellness programs while 25.8 did in Rhode Island.

“The results show not only numbers but what employers are doing to influence them,” explained Amy Gallagher, Vice President of Major Accounts at Cornerstone Group. “In Rhode Island, while average annual costs for plans are still higher here than in other parts of the country, companies are  getting  more creative with changes in plan designs and increased employee engagement in healthcare decisions in an attempt to keep costs flat, especially in anticipation of the upcoming impact of PPACA.”

Companies can request a copy of the 2013 UBA Health Plan Survey or a customized benchmarking report by contacting Amy Gallagher at Cornerstone Group at 401-884-5700.

About Cornerstone Group

Founded in 1993, the Cornerstone Group has forged a reputation as a leading benefits advisory firm, serving more than 1,500 employers nationwide. As its clients’ needs have changed over the years, Cornerstone has evolved to meet them with an expanding selection of services designed to address all aspects of employee management. From benefits advisory, payroll services and human resource consulting, to compliance advice and retirement solutions, Cornerstone’s rapid but measured growth results from the expansion of core services clients want and expect from a full-service advisory firm.

About the UBA Health Plan Survey
Data in the 2013 UBA Health Plan Survey are based on responses from 10,551 employers sponsoring 16,928 health plans nationwide.  The 2013 UBA Health Plan Survey offers more than national data and recommends that employers benchmark with local data, which are 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 U.S., Canada and the U.K. Visit www.UBAbenefits.com.

Susan Reardon





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