United Benefit Advisors Insight and Analysis Blog

Keeping Pace with the Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees Act

Posted by: Vicki Randall    Feb 16, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Last fall, President Barack Obama signed the Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees Act (PACE), which preserved the historical definition of small employer to mean an employer that employs 1 to 50 employees. Prior to this newly signed legislation, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was set to expand the definition of a small employer to include companies with 51 to 100 employees (mid-size segment) beginning January 1, 2016.

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Topics: health care costs, ACA, essential health benefits, minimum essential coverage, Affordable Care Act, PACE Act, Compliancedashboard, Vicki Randall, Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees Act, small employer

2017 Annual Limits Card Back by Popular Demand

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Jan 18, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Many employee benefit limits are automatically adjusted each year for inflation (this is often referred to as an "indexed" limit). UBA offers a quick reference chart showing the 2017 cost of living adjustments for health and Section 125 plans, qualified plans, Social Security/Medicare withholding, compensation amounts and more. This at-a-glance resource is a valuable desk tool for employers and HR practitioners.

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Topics: health care costs, employee benefits, employee benefit limits, out-of-pocket limits, Danielle Capilla, group benefit plans

Wellness Wearables: Novelty or an Impact to the Health Care Industry?

Posted by: Travis Horne, MBA    Dec 19, 2016 4:40:45 PM

It’s no secret in the wellness industry today that wellness wearables are in high demand as one of the most employer-offered program incentives. Wearables are not only being distributed at a large quantity by medical carriers, they are also being utilized by employers as an incentive to drive employee engagement on wellness platforms, challenges, and programs. Is this increase in wearable distribution a fad, or are these products truly impacting employee wellness program engagement and health care spending? This question is one of the many that continually surfaces from employers who are focused on employee health and well-being and the business investment in wellness programs.

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Topics: employee engagement, wellness, health care costs, wellness programs, UBA Health Plan Survey, Travis Horne, wearable fitness devices

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

Moving from Employee Wellness to Employee Well-Being

Posted by: Lisa Weston    Apr 28, 2016 10:00:00 AM

The terms “wellness” and “well-being” are often used interchangeably; however, they mean very different things when applied to workplace health promotion. Traditionally speaking, employee “wellness” programs have primarily focused on just physical health. Whereas employee “well-being” programs emphasize emotional, mental, social, and financial health in addition to physical health.

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Topics: wellness, health care costs, employee wellness, wellness programs, employee health, well-being

UBA Survey Reveals Industry Differences in Health Savings Accounts

Posted by: Bill Olson    Mar 11, 2016 12:00:00 PM

We recently took a look nationwide at the best and worst health savings accounts (HSAs) for singles and families. When you slice the UBA survey data by industry, some big differences emerge there as well.

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Topics: health care costs, health reimbursement arrangements, health savings accounts, HRA, HSA, account-based plans

How Do Your Copays and Deductibles Stack Up? Benchmark Your Employees' Out-of-Pocket Costs

Posted by: Bill Olson    Feb 2, 2016 12:00:00 PM

As many analysts projected, premiums continue to rise, forcing many employers to manage this expanding price tag by shifting costs to their employees. As UBA reported in its breaking news, this cost shifting took the form of higher deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums, and copays for both singles and families.

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Topics: health care costs, out-of-pocket limits, UBA Health Plan Survey, health care deductibles

Being Hyper Aware of Hypertension

Posted by: Bill Olson    Jan 26, 2016 12:00:00 PM

As wellness programs continue to flourish particularly among large employers, a discovery is being made about one of the most important health conditions – hypertension. Hypertension (also known as high blood pressure) is a medical issue where the pressure of the blood in a person’s cardiovascular system is constantly elevated. According to the Mayo Clinic, a person can have high blood pressure for years without any symptoms. Yet even without symptoms, damage to arteries, blood vessels, and even the heart continues until serious health issues, including a heart attack and stroke, happen.

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Topics: wellness, health care costs, health screening, hypertension, biometric screening

Small Businesses No Longer Going for the Gold in Medical Insurance

Posted by: Carol Taylor    Dec 17, 2015 12:00:00 PM

Small employers are feeling the squeeze from increasing costs of medical care and increasing premiums for the medical insurance they offer their employees. Recently released findings from the 2015 UBA Health Plan Survey show that 54 percent of small employers are currently offering gold or platinum plans to their employees. However, with the pressure from rising medical care costs, the introduction of community rating in setting insurance rates, and the end of grandmothering, it is highly unlikely that this trend will continue.

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Topics: health care costs, ACA, health care reform, Carol Taylor, community rating, UBA Health Plan Survey, Affordable Care Act, metal level benefits

Healthcare Cost Reduction: Community Paramedicine as a New Primary Care Delivery Model

Posted by: Peter Freska    Nov 17, 2015 12:00:00 PM

I recently read an article on what some say is the conventional wisdom of healthcare costs in the United States which, as a percent of gross domestic product, are higher than most other countries. The article works to demonstrate that the reason for the higher than average cost and the lack of “better” health outcomes in light of significantly higher spending is attributable to non-healthcare issues such as lack of access, especially for the poor. With the drive of healthcare reform to make sure the U.S. population is insured and address the shortage of primary care physicians increasing as high as 31,000 (“Physician Supply and Demand Through 2025: Key Findings,” Association of American Medical Colleges, April 1, 2015), where will people receive their primary care, and at what cost? What if there were a more efficient and cost effective way to deliver care to populations that lack access or don’t have the ability to easily access care.

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Topics: health care costs, Peter Freska, paramedicine, emergency medicine, paramedics, community paramedicine, EMT