PARSIPPANY, N.J., Jan. 31 Business owners and humanresource executives grappling with ways to keep their employee health benefitsboth competitive and cost effective found out how their plans compare toothers today at a breakfast seminar at Embassy Suites Parsippany. ScottRappoport, a 25-year veteran of the employee benefits industry and Presidentof Benefit Sources & Solutions in Bound Brook, presented the results of the2007 United Benefit Advisors (UBA)/Benefit Sources & Solutions Health PlanBenchmarking Survey, the nation's largest and most comprehensive survey ofplan design and plan costs.
Mr. Rappoport told participants that the average annual health plan costper employee is $6,881 (medical only coverage), with an average employee costof $3,110 and an average employer cost of $3,771 per employee, according tothe survey, which evaluated responses from 16,485 health plans sponsored by11,723 employers nationwide who employ nearly 1.9 million people(approximately 4.5 million total lives).
The survey also confirms that higher premiums (nearly 14% higher) forfamily health plans in the Northeast (particularly New Jersey) are largelyattributed to those plans having richer benefits than any other region of thecountry. Specifically, 71.0% of plans in the Northeast have no singledeductible, and 82.1% have no in-network coinsurance, versus roughly 30% forplans in other regions.
"Attracting and retaining quality employees are among the top humancapital challenges* facing organizations today," observes Rappoport."Employers know that the benefits they provide must protect their mostvaluable asset -- their employees. Yet, they are challenged by a host ofissues relating to employee benefits: rising costs, employees' lack ofappreciation for the benefits provided, and employees' lack of knowledge aboutthe true value of the benefits. Add to that the pressure of meeting ongoinggovernment mandates and regulatory oversight and you've got some seriouslyfrustrated business owners and human resource managers."
While the majority (54%) of employers offers one type of health benefitplan, a growing number (34%) offer two types of plans -- the most popularbeing a Point of Service (POS) Plan. Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs) andHealth Savings Accounts (HSAs) (1.4%) are not widely utilized, according toRappoport.
What can companies do to control the rising costs of employee healthbenefit plans?
"There is a major effort to keep employee health benefit costs undercontrol through wellness programs," comments Rappoport. "Considering that 43%of all health care claims result from chronic diseases, it makes sense tostart at the root of the problem and encourage healthy behaviors amongemployees. More and more plans are offering employees health risk assessmentsand incentives and rewards for meeting certain guidelines."
"Today," he quipped, "'working' includes 'working out'."
Benefit Sources & Solutions provides mid-market employer groups with apersonalized and multi-faceted approach to managing their employee benefitprograms. From medical insurance to 401K planning, account managers at BenefitSources & Solutions can identify how a client's benefit program compares toother employers in their region and industry, determine appropriate benefitlevels and develop the most cost-effective plan to suit the client's needs.Value-added services include complete administration and compliance support,communicating all aspects of the benefits program to the workforce, and a hostof technology-based systems designed to keep companies competitive in themarketplace, maintain the best possible rates and enhance employeeappreciation and morale. For more information about Benefit Sources &Solutions and the 2007 United Benefit Advisors (UBA)/Benefit Sources &Solutions Health Plan Benchmarking Survey, visit www.benefitsource.com.