UBA survey uncovers 'anti-family' health plan trend

By BenefitsPro


By Dan Cook

Are employers becoming anti-family when it comes to health coverage? Executives at UBA Health say such a trend appears to be emerging.

The company’s CEO, Thom Mangan, actually used the term “anti-family” in his summation of UBA’s 2013 Health Plan Survey of 10,551 employers sponsoring 16,928 U.S. health plans.

UBA did find a silver lining in its data: The average employee’s portion of an employer-sponsored health plan decreased by 15.7 percent in 2013.

On the other hand, the average in-network co-insurance dropped from 90 percent to 80 percent, “a significant decrease in coverage,” the report said.

“This is the first year, in my 22 year career in the industry, that employers took back some of the premiums they were asking employees to pay, a good indication they are looking to attract and retain top talent as the economy picks up,” Mangan said. “Unfortunately, dependents are being asked to pick up more of the tab, which could signal an increasing anti-family trend.”

While single employee costs decreased, family costs increased. Among the evidence:
  • Employees with dependents had to pick up 3 percent more of the family premium, or $492 on average.
  • In-network deductibles increased $91, to $1,852, for single workers, and $216, to $4,225, for a family.
  • It got worse for families on out-of-pocket maximums (after the deductible): their cost rose $433 to $8,043 for a family – increasing more than 17 times from five years ago — compared to $152 to $3,641 for solo workers.
  • All workers, in the end, had to pay more for their insurance coverage, whether going it alone or adding on family members. “The average worker … saw an overall increase in health care cost due to rising out-of-pocket costs, including higher in-network deductibles, in-network co-insurance, and significantly higher out-of-pocket maximums,” the survey concluded.
Other nuggests from the data:
  • Government/education sector employees got the best deals: “Single employee contribution decreased nearly 30 percent, or $1,025, since 2012; taxpayers, therefore, assumed an additional $1,681 or 24.28 percent of a public employee’s health care cost.”
  • PPOs again were the most popular plan type offered, up from 46.9 percent in 2012 to 47.2 percent in 2013.
  • HMO use decreased slightly, from 19.1 to 18.4 percent.
  • CDHP plans grew the most from 22.5 to 24.1 percent for all industries and all size groups.
  • Self-Insurance has increased 10 percent, this year, as a funding option for insurance plans.
The survey underscored once again the growing interest in corporate wellness programs. It found that 19.2 percent of respondents offer a wellness plan, up 8.3 percent over last year.

“However, types of wellness offerings vary by industry and employer size. Surprisingly, employers with 1,000-plus employees decreased their wellness offerings by 0.7 percent,” the survey said.

Originally published on BenefitsPro.com