United Benefit Advisors Insight and Analysis Blog

Bill Olson

VP, Marketing & Communications at United Benefit Advisors

Recent Posts

Build It and They Will Come? Group Health Plan Prevalence Doesn’t Always Drive Enrollment (Well, Except in CA)

Posted by: Bill Olson    Nov 9, 2017 2:32:41 PM

Though more expensive, PPOs still dominate the market overall in terms of plan distribution and employee enrollment. However, when you look regionally, PPO plans are most prevalent in the Central U.S., while CDHPs are most prevalent in the Northeast.

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Topics: health plan benchmarking, UBA Health Plan Survey

PPOs Dominate Despite Savings with HMOs and CDHPs

Posted by: Bill Olson    Nov 7, 2017 9:30:00 AM

The findings of our 2017 Health Plan Survey show a continuation of steady trends and some surprises. It’s no surprise, however, that costs continue to rise. The average annual health plan cost per employee for all plan types is $9,934, an increase from 2016, when the average cost was $9,727. There are significant cost differences when you look at the data by plan type.

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Topics: PPO, health plan cost trends, UBA Health Plan Survey, preferred provider organization

Top 7 Trends from 2017 UBA Health Plan Survey

Posted by: Bill Olson    Nov 2, 2017 9:30:00 AM

We recently unveiled the latest findings from our 2017 Health Plan Survey. With data on 20,099 health plans sponsored by 11,221 employers, the UBA survey is nearly three times larger than the next two of the nation’s largest health plan benchmarking surveys combined. Here are the top trends at a glance.

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Topics: health plan benchmarking, UBA Health Plan Survey Executive Summary, independent employee benefits advisors, health care cost containment

Small Businesses Healthcare Competitive, But Faces Two Big Challenges

Posted by: Bill Olson    Aug 31, 2017 9:30:00 AM

We recently revealed how competitive small business health plans are when compared to national averages—and even how they are doing a better job of containing costs. But the UBA Health Plan Survey also uncovers two challenges these groups face in its new special report: “Small Businesses Keeping Pace with Nationwide Health Trends”.

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Topics: UBA Health Plan Survey, health care cost containment, employee benefit trends, small business healthcare

Survey: Small Businesses Keeping Pace with Health Benefits Offered by Employers Nationwide

Posted by: Bill Olson    Aug 24, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Small employers, those with fewer than 100 employees, have a reputation for not offering health insurance benefits that are competitive with larger employers, but new survey data from UBA’s Health Plan Survey reveals they are keeping pace with the average employer and, in fact, doing a better job of containing costs.

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Topics: group health insurance, small business, UBA Health Plan Survey, health care cost containment, employee benefit trends

Government and Education Employers Offer Richest HSA Plans

Posted by: Bill Olson    Jul 27, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Across most industries, HSA contributions are, for the most part, down or unchanged from three years ago, according to UBA’s Health Plan Survey. The average employer contribution to an HSA is $474 for a single employee (down 3.5 percent from 2015 and 17.6 percent from five years ago) and $801 for a family (down 9.2 percent from last year and 13.7 percent from five years ago). Government and education employers are the only industries with average single contributions well above average and on the rise.

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Topics: health savings accounts, UBA Health Plan Survey, HSAs, employer-sponsored health insurance, health care benchmarking

Small Employers Lead the Way in Funding HSAs

Posted by: Bill Olson    Jun 15, 2017 9:30:00 AM

The average employer contribution to an HSA is $474 for a single employee (down 3.5 percent from 2015 and 17.6 percent from five years ago) and $801 for a family (down 9.2 percent from last year and 13.7 percent from five years ago). There was a 26 percent increase in the number of individuals enrolled in HSAs, likely due to the increase in CDHP enrollment (which often have HSAs tied to them). Since 2013, there has been a 97.7 percent increase in enrollment, showing significant employer and employee interest in these plans over time.

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Topics: health plan benchmarking, employee benefits, health savings accounts, UBA Health Plan Survey, HSAs

Automatic for the People

Posted by: Bill Olson    Mar 28, 2017 9:30:00 AM

With apologies to the band R.E.M., this article is not about their music, nor their album, but about how automatic enrollment has significantly helped people. Think of all the payments you currently have automated. You probably have automatic deposit of your paycheck, automatic bill pay for your utilities and other monthly bills, and maybe even a recurring automatic payment and delivery of pet food from Amazon. Now, think of something that’s important that you wish you could automate. This is not the time to mention your daily fix of Starbucks, but about saving enough money for retirement.

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Topics: retirement savings, automatic deposit, retirement planning

Initial 2016 Health Plan Survey Results Are Out: PPO Deductibles Increase Fifty Percent, Employer Costs Remain Steady

Posted by: Bill Olson    Aug 24, 2016 10:30:00 AM

The 2016 UBA Health Plan Survey contains the validated responses of 19,557 health plans and 11,524 employers, who cumulatively employ over two and a half million employees and insure more than five million total lives. Of the preliminary findings, we see that employees continue to take on more cost for coverage. The median in-network deductible on an employer-sponsored PPO health plan (which nearly half of all employees enroll in) increased 50 percent, from $1,000 to $1,500 in 2016, yet employer costs remain steady.

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Topics: health care costs, PPO, UBA Health Plan Survey, health care deductibles

Prescription Drug Copay Trends: Five-Tier Plan Benchmarks Emerge, Large Employers Hike Rates in Three-Tier Plans

Posted by: Bill Olson    Aug 16, 2016 10:30:00 AM

UBA’s Special Report – Trends in Prescription Drug Benefits explores our Health Plan Survey findings in more detail, particularly examining what’s happening with prescription drug plan design among different group sizes, regions and industries. When it comes to copay amounts, median retail prescription drug copays are $10/$30 for two-tier plans, $10/$35/$55 for three-tier plans, and $10/$35/$60/$100 for four-tier plans. These amounts have remained largely flat from 2014.

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Topics: UBA Health Plan Survey, multi-tier prescription drug plans, prescription drug cost, prescription drug trends, prescription drug copays