CIAB Poll Shows Benefit Costs Soaring - Again

Andy Malinoski
June 1, 2007 — 1,695 views  
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From a recent Employee Benefits Market Survey by the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers: "Employee group health benefit costs for businesses continued a rapid increase over the past six months, and a majority of employers, regardless of size, paid a lot more to renew, a producer group reports. Those findings were contained in the spring Employee Benefits Market Survey by the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers (CIAB). Agents and brokers responding to the survey said the cost of group medical care increased for 81 percent of their small accounts--those with 50 or fewer employees. Respondents said 54 percent of renewals were between 11- and 15 percent higher. Similarly, 90 percent of the agents said their medium-sized clients experienced increases in group medical costs, with 47 percent falling in the 11-to-15 percent range. Three-quarters of those polled said their large clients--those with 501 or more employees--paid more for their group medical plans, with the largest number of increases (43 percent) in the 6-to-10 percent range." It looks like costs are going to increase again. What are you going to do? There is a way to integrate individual health awareness, financial incentives and a plan design that works for employers and employees to get control of costs. Account-based Health Plans, if designed properly – enabling the employee to build an asset over time and create a scenario where they have a chance to win, are proving to be a way to get employees engaged in the health care process. Recent reports show that more than 50% of employers are at least considering a consumer-driven approach for 2008. As you move forward and consider those options for your company, make sure the plan: 1. Provides dollars to an employee that can be used to purchase health care goods and services. Why? An unfunded account has proven, in our experience, to not work and is basically a cost shift that erodes the value of the benefit plan in the employee’s eyes. 2. Integrate Health Awareness Tools, a Timeline and a Financial Incentive Why? Without a basic platform of knowledge about their current health state, employees don’t know where to begin when it comes to self-managing their health. Timelines increase participation and Financial Incentives (like additional contributions to health accounts for participation in biometric screenings) work. 3. Understand Trust Why? Studies show that employees do not trust their insurance carrier or their employer with health information. The tools provided to them must be independent and stand alone so that they can become truly engaged in understanding their current health state.

Andy Malinoski

Vested Health

Andy Malinoski is Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Vested Health. Joining Vested Health in January 2006, Malinoski is an advocate for consumer-driven plans based on real life experience with health care benefits professionally as an employer and personally as a father of three children. Andy oversees the account management, media relations and educational material development key to providing consumers information about how their health plan works and the benefits available to them through their Vested Health plan.