|Where Employers Are Making Changes In Health Benefit Plan Features
Key areas where employers are working to reduce
healthcare costs that changed between 2008-2009 include increases in
co-pay’s, increases in family deductibles, and reductions in
administrative fees for health savings accounts (HSAs), according to a
report from HighRoads.
"As health insurance costs continue to skyrocket
employers continue to work to find ways to reduce their overall
healthcare costs while minimizing the impact on their employees," said
Josh Miley, principal with HighRoads. "Based on live data from our
benefits benchmarking tool, The Lab, employers continue to seek
innovative solutions to solve their health insurance needs while
maintaining overall cost control."
The Lab, which contains design and related cost
information for over 5,000 medical plans, is used by plan managers to
benchmark medical programs at a granular level in real time, the firm
Using recent data The Lab identified the following trends:
For HMO Plans:
- Between 2008 and 2009, the median co-pay amounts
increased by $5 for primary care and $10for specialty care to $20 and
- The median 2008 three-tier retail prescription co-pay
of $10/$20/$37.50 (generic/brand formulary/brand non-formulary)
increased to $10/$22.50/$40 in 2009.
- These combined HMO design changes yielded
approximately a 2 percent reduction in HMO premiums resulting in final
median HMO increase of about 4 percent.
For PPO Plans:
- The median specialty physician co-pay increased from
$20 in 2008 to $27.50 in 2009. Primary care physician co-pays remained
relatively unchanged at $20.
- Prescription co-pays remained relatively unchanged
with the exception of generic prescription drug co-pays which decreased
from $10 to $7.
- Employers are subsidizing dependent healthcare costs
at a lower rate. The median family deductible increased from $600 in
2008 to $650 in 2009.
- These combined PPO design changes yielded approximately a 1 percent reduction in PPO premiums.
The study also found that self-insured employers saw a
slight 3 percent increase in median per-employee-per-month (PEPM)
Also, as high deductible health plans coupled with
health savings accounts have increased in popularity their associated
administration fees have decreased from over $4 PEPM in 2007 to a
median of $3.25 PEPM in 2009, the study found.
A copy of the complete report on HighRoads` benchmark findings and observations is available online at www.thehrlab.com.
The company said The Lab allows users to track market
trends and accurately pinpoint the underlying factors driving them.
Real plan and cost information is added to the benchmark on an ongoing
basis, covering a range of market industries and company demographics.
Address: HighRoads, 150 Presidential Way, Woburn, MA 01801; (781) 503-4000, www.highroads.com, www.thehrlab.com.