United Benefit Advisors Insight and Analysis Blog

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

2017 Health Plan Survey Shows Sharp Rise in Group Healthcare Premiums

Posted by: Peter Weber, M.S., CAE    Oct 30, 2017 10:43:38 AM

I’m happy to report that this year’s UBA Health Plan survey achieved a milestone. For the first time, we surpassed 20,000 health plans entered—20,099 health plans to be exact, which were sponsored by 11,221 employers. What we were able to determine from all this data was that a tumultuous Presidential election likely encouraged many employers to stay the course and make only minor increases and decreases across the board while the future of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) became clearer.

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Topics: health insurance premiums, health plan benchmarking, UBA Health Plan Survey

Benefit Plan Design: Charging Employees Different Premiums

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Oct 27, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Employers who are designing a health and welfare benefit plan for their employees often wonder about the rules relating to setting premiums for employees. Employers generally have significant flexibility in this part of their plan's design.

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Topics: health insurance premiums, group benefit plans, employee benefit plan design, nondiscrimination

IRS Releases Final Forms and Instructions for 2017 ACA Reporting

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Oct 24, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Instructions for both the 1094-B and 1095-B and the 1094-C and 1095-C were released, as were the forms for 1094-B, 1095-B, 1094-C, and 1095-C.

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Topics: employer shared responsibility, Affordable Care Act, ACA reporting

Contraception Mandate Rolled Back for Employers

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Oct 19, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Two tri-agency (Internal Revenue Service, Employee Benefits Security Administration, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) Interim Final Rules were released and became effective on October 6, 2017, and will be published on October 31, 2017, allowing a greater number of employers to opt out of providing contraception to employees at no cost through their employer-sponsored health plan.

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Topics: contraception coverage, group health insurance, Affordable Care Act

President Trump Ends ACA Cost Sharing Reductions

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Oct 17, 2017 9:30:00 AM

On the evening of October 12, 2017, President Trump announced that cost sharing reductions for low income Americans in relation to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) would be stopped. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has confirmed that payments will be stopped immediately. While there is no direct impact to employers at this time, UBA will continue to educate employers about changes in the law and its Health Plan Survey will continue to track group health plan rates over time as insurance companies potentially seek to recoup lost revenue. It is anticipated at least some state attorneys general will file lawsuits to block the ending of the subsidy payments, with California Attorney General Xavier Becerra stating he is prepared to file a lawsuit to protect the subsidies.

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Topics: health insurance exchanges, Cost-Sharing, group health insurance, Affordable Care Act

October 2017 Executive Order on Healthcare

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Oct 13, 2017 10:59:15 AM

On October 12, 2017, the White House released an Executive Order, signed by President Trump, titled "Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States."

It is important to note that the Executive Order (EO) does not implement any new laws or regulations, but instead directs various federal agencies to explore options relating to association health plans, short term limited-duration coverage (STLDI), and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), within the next 60 to 120 days.

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Topics: ACA, health reimbursement arrangements, Affordable Care Act, association health plans

The Perk of Pets

Posted by: Geoff Mukhtar    Oct 12, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Companies on the leading edge of employee benefits, especially those that want to stand out within an industry, will offer such pet-friendly perks in order to attract top talent. But what exactly are these benefits?

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Topics: employee benefits, employee perks, pets at work