United Benefit Advisors Insight and Analysis Blog

Employer Strategies for Managing Prescription Drug Costs

Posted by: Mary Drueke-Collins, FSA    Jul 20, 2017 9:46:29 AM

Modern medicines have resulted in longer, more productive lives for many of us. Prescription drugs soothe sore muscles after a strenuous workout or manage the conditions of a chronic disease. Unfortunately, this use of prescriptions drugs can come with a hefty price tag.

Americans are spending more money on prescription drugs than ever before and the United States as a nation spends more per capita on prescription drugs than any other country. With the cost of some drugs exceeding thousands of dollars for a 30-day supply, this can translate into financial hardship for many Americans.

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Topics: UBA Health Plan Survey, health plan design, prescription drug cost, prescription drug copays, coinsurance

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

2018 Amounts for HSAs; Retroactive Medicare Coverage Effect on Contributions

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Jun 8, 2017 9:30:00 AM

IRS Releases 2018 Amounts for HSAs

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Topics: HDHPs, health savings accounts, UBA Health Plan Survey, HSAs, Medicare coverage

Well-Being Strategies for a Diverse Workforce, Building Value at an Individual Level

Posted by: Lindsay Simpson    May 30, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Your organization has 312 employees, which means you have 312 different needs for well-being support. Well-being strategies should not be a one-size-fits-all approach. Developing a set of flexible and responsive well-being strategies that meet changing individual needs throughout an employee’s tenure is a critical way to both attract and retain talent.

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Topics: employee wellness, UBA Health Plan Survey, well-being, diverse workforce

Why some companies offer an HRA

Posted by: Elizabeth Kay    May 18, 2017 9:30:00 AM

In a world of insurance and acronyms, the term “HRA” is thrown around a lot, but it has a variety of meanings.

HRA can mean health reimbursement account, heath reimbursement arrangement, or health risk assessment, and all of those mean something different. I want to be clear that in the following article I am going to be discussing the use of health reimbursement accounts with fully-insured health plans. We can leave the other meanings of HRA for another time.

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Topics: health reimbursement account, HRA, UBA Health Plan Survey, employee benefit trends

HSAs vs. HRAs: Things Employers Should Consider

Posted by: Bob Bentley    May 12, 2017 4:00:52 PM

With health care costs and insurance premiums continuing to rise, employers are looking for ways to reduce their insurance expenses. That usually means increasing medical plan deductibles. According to the latest UBA Health Plan Survey, the average in-network single medical plan deductible increased from $2,031 in 2015 to $2,127 in 2016. But shifting costs to employees can be detrimental to an employer’s efforts to attract and retain top talent. Employers are looking for solutions that reduce their costs while minimizing the impact on employees.

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Topics: health reimbursement arrangements, health savings accounts, HRA, HSA, UBA Health Plan Survey, health care benchmarking

The Future of Corporate Wellness – Where will we go from here?

Posted by: Valeria S. Tivnan, MPH, M.Ed.    Apr 11, 2017 9:30:00 AM

I am proud to say that I have been involved in corporate wellness since the mid-1980s. Helping employees live healthier and happier lives, as well as supporting employers with best-in-class tools to improve their cultures, have been my passion and purpose. I have witnessed and worked on corporate wellness since the time when physical health was the most important aspect of workers’ health. I cannot say I have worked with wellness since its inception, though. Corporate wellness has been around longer than many people think. To predict the future of wellness, we must understand its past.

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Topics: wellness, employee wellness, health risk assessment, UBA Health Plan Survey, return on investment

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