United Benefit Advisors Insight and Analysis Blog

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

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, small business healthcare, health care cost containment, employee benefit trends

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

Self-Funding Dental: Leave No Stone Unturned

Posted by: Gary R. Goodhile, CLU    Mar 30, 2017 9:29:00 AM

With all of the focus that is put into managing and controlling health care costs today, it amazes me how many organizations still look past one of the most effective and least disruptive cost-saving strategies available to employers with 150 or more covered employees – self-funding your dental plan. There is a reason why dental insurers are not quick to suggest making a switch to a self-funded arrangement … it is called profit!

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Topics: self-funding, dental insurance, benefits cost control, health care cost containment

Stemming the Tide of Opioid Abuse: A Brief Guide for Employers

Posted by: Corey Belken, PharmD    Feb 14, 2017 9:30:00 AM

In January 2017, an NBC news investigation found that an “epidemic” of opioid abuse had helped turn the once-prosperous city of Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, into “the most unhappy place in America.” Working in the epicenter of the “scourge” that had resulted in 137 fatal overdoses in a county of only 318,000 people in 2016, the coroner reported that opioid addiction was “eating away at the core of society.”1 Although an extreme example, Wilkes Barre’s unhappy experience is being repeated in communities throughout the United States, resulting in problems that you probably recognize—and a few that you may not be aware of.

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Topics: opioid abuse, drug abuse, prescription drugs, health care cost containment, EpiphanyRx

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

Solving the Prescription Puzzle

Posted by: Mary Delaney, MSPT, CWP    Jan 24, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Determining how an employer develops the most effective formulary, while protecting the financial stability of the plan, is certainly the challenge of this decade. Prescription management used to mean monitoring that the right people are taking medications to control their disease while creating strategies to move them from brand name to generic medications. With the dawn of specialty medications, formulary management has become a game of maximizing the pass-through of rebates, creating the best prior authorization strategies and tiering of benefits to create some barrier to more expensive medications, all without becoming too disruptive.

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Topics: prescription drug cost, multi-tier prescription drug plans, prescription management, disease management, UBA Health Plan Survey, health care cost containment, mail order drug benefits, Mary Delaney, Vital Incite

Identify and Evaluate the Impact of Your Wellness Program

Posted by: Mary Delaney, MSPT, CWP    Jan 5, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Measuring program value, or return on investment, is critical and imperative in managing a healthy wellness program. Further, clearly identifying and objectively evaluating the impact helps keep the vendor focused on what is critical for the employer. If these programs are not having the impact intended, then the cost of those services is only adding to medical spending waste.

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Topics: wellness, employee wellness, employee engagement, health care cost containment, biometric risk assessment, population health strategy, Mary Delaney, Vital Incite, UBA Health Plan Survey, wellness programs

2016 Health Plan Survey: Topline Trends at a Glance

Posted by: Jason Reeves    Nov 1, 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. Our data reflects the experiences of 99% of U.S. businesses in rough proportion to their actual prevalence, not just the largest employers who are often the sole focus in other surveys. As a result, our findings are extensive, so we’ve compiled a topline list of the biggest trends below.

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Topics: UBA Health Plan Survey, health cost shifting, ACA, PPACA, employee benefit trends, health care cost containment, Jason Reeves

Educating Employees on Wellness Program Options

Posted by: Kathy Ellis    Sep 20, 2016 10:30:00 AM

Adopting best practices for wellness program designs are important in successfully investing in a workplace environment focused on well-being. Finding the right partners, tools, and interventions, and creating an incentive design that hits the sweet spot to motivate employees to participate are all essential. Many organizations fall short and wellness programs often stall when employees do not understand the program. Whether they question an organization’s intent in offering a wellness program, the program components are too overwhelming or not communicated well, or employees simply do not understand how programs affect them, educating employees on wellness program options is crucial to a program’s success.

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Topics: wellness programs, wellness incentives, health care cost containment, employee benefits, Kathy Ellis, Granite Group Benefits