United Benefit Advisors Insight and Analysis Blog

CMS Allows States to Extend Life of "Grandmothered" or Transitional Health Insurance Policies

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Mar 21, 2017 9:30:00 AM

On February 23, 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its Insurance Standards Bulletin Series, in which it re-extended its transitional policy for non-grandfathered coverage in the small group and individual health insurance markets.

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Topics: ACA, health plan benchmarking, UBA Health Plan Survey, Danielle Capilla, Affordable Care Act, grandmothering, transitional relief, transitional health insurance policy

Best and Worst States for Group Health Care Costs

Posted by: Matt Weimer    Feb 15, 2017 11:57:47 AM

Employer-sponsored health insurance is greatly affected by geographic region, industry, and employer size. While some cost trends have been fairly consistent since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was put in place, UBA finds several surprises in its latest Health Plan Survey. Based on responses from more than 11,000 employers, UBA recently announced the top five best and worst states for group health care monthly premiums.

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Topics: health plan benchmarking, UBA Health Plan Survey, consumer-directed health plan, employer-sponsored health insurance, group health care cost, CDHP

Benchmarking Your Cost-Shifting Strategy

Posted by: RJ Nelson    Feb 9, 2017 4:04:45 PM

We recently shared healthcare cost benchmarking best practices and reported on the best and worst industries/states for group healthcare. But how much are you contributing toward healthcare costs vs. your employees? That’s a key benchmark, especially when “cost-shifting” is the main strategy for mitigating risk for employers. You may have the most affordable plan, but if you are passing most of that cost on to your employees, you may not be a competitive employer.

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Topics: health plan benchmarking, UBA Health Plan Survey, health care cost containment, health care benchmarking, out-of-pocket costs, RJ Nelson

Who Are You Benchmarking Your Health Plan Against?

Posted by: RJ Nelson    Jan 27, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Many employers benchmark their health plan against carrier provided national data. While that is a good place to start, regional cost averages vary, making it essential to benchmark both nationally and regionally—as well as state by state. For example, a significant difference exists between the cost to insure an employee in the Northeast versus the Central U.S.—plans in the Northeast continue to cost the most since they typically have lower deductibles, contain more state-mandated benefits, and feature higher in-network coinsurance, among other factors.

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Topics: health plan benchmarking, UBA Health Plan Survey, health plan costs

Survey: Enrollment in Consumer-Directed Health Plans Jumps 22 Percent Despite Increase in Plan Costs

Posted by: RJ Nelson    Oct 20, 2016 10:30:00 AM

Our 2016 Health Plan Survey results are in and as our preliminary findings indicated, while employer costs remained steady, employees continue to take on more cost for coverage. With PPO deductibles rising 50 percent, UBA finds that consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs) continue to increase in popularity even though they are offering less savings than a year ago. Our newly released 2016 Health Plan Survey Executive Summary finds 26.4 percent of all U.S. employees are now enrolled in CDHP plans, an increase of 21.7 percent from last year and nearly 70 percent from five years ago.

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Topics: health plan benchmarking, CDHPs, UBA Health Plan Survey, health plan costs, consumer-directed health plan

Group Healthcare Premiums by State: How does your plan stack up?

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

We recently highlighted the top five best and worst states for group health plan costs. See below for your state's average monthly premiums and read our breaking news release with the cost findings by industry.

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Topics: health plan benchmarking, group health insurance, health plan cost trends, UBA Health Plan Survey, group healthcare premiums

Top Five Best and Worst States for Group Health Plans

Posted by: Matt Weimer    Apr 8, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Top 5Health insurance premium renewal rates increased an average of 6.2 percent for all plans in 2015, up from the previous year’s 5.6 percent increase, according to UBA’s Health Plan Survey. Small businesses with fewer than 25 employees, which account for five million U.S. employers, were hit the hardest—see our breaking news with the details.

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Topics: health plan benchmarking, group health insurance, Group health plans, health plan cost trends, UBA Health Plan Survey, health insurance cost

HRAs, HSAs, and Health FSAs – What's the Difference?

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Feb 19, 2016 4:55:25 PM

Health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), health savings accounts (HSAs) and health care flexible spending accounts (HFSAs) are generally referred to as account-based plans. That is because each participant has their own account, at least for bookkeeping purposes. Under the tax rules, amounts may be contributed to these accounts (with certain restrictions) and used for health care on a tax-favored basis.

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Topics: health plan benchmarking, PPACA Affordable Care Act, health savings account, health reimbursement arrangements, HRA, HSA, UBA 2014 Health Plan Survey, health care flexible spending account, health plan cost trends, HFSA

How to Benchmark Your Health Plan

Posted by: Bill Olson    Jan 19, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Are you benchmarking your health plan correctly? If you are using data from your carrier or a small study of only large employers, chances are you are not effectively analyzing your rates. To truly benchmark your plan, you need to compare your plan to others in your state, industry, and size category.

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

Top 8 Free (!) UBA Healthcare Cost and Compliance Resources for Employers

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

UBA offers a comprehensive library of ACA Advisors and white papers to help employers navigate health care cost and compliance. Every year we look at the documents most accessed by employers and remind our audience of these helpful, free resources. Here’s what was most in demand in 2015.

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Topics: compliance, ACA, health plan benchmarking, UBA Health Plan Survey, Don't Roll the Dice on Department of Labor Audits, cafeteria plan, Affordable Care Act, annual benefit limits, white paper, health care cost, account-based plans