The New York Times recently stirred up a media firestorm when it reported about Harvard University professors who were lambasting the health care increases they were facing this year.
We’ve rounded up the most popular UBA blogs of 2014, which have garnered thousands of views.
Recent survey data from the 2014 United Benefit Advisors Health Plan Survey, the nation's largest health plan survey, shows that employers continue to shift a greater share of expenses to employees through out-of-pocket cost increases and reductions in family benefits, as well as delay many effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) by utilizing an early renewal strategy. More
As mentioned in the first posting, wellness programs must be analyzed under a myriad of laws and regulations. This post will discuss generally the wellness program landscape in light of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)/Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA), the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA), the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and the Nondiscrimination Regulations. This is a 30,000-foot overview of laws and regulations that are in need of microscopic scrutiny when applying them to a wellness program.
The IRS has released final regulations that address how wellness incentives or penalties, contributions to a health reimbursement arrangement, and employer contributions to a Section 125 plan are applied to determine affordability. While these regulations were issued in connection with the individual shared responsibility requirement (also called the individual mandate), the agencies said that they expect to use the same approach when determining affordability for purposes of eligibility for the premium tax credit and the employer-shared responsibility/play or pay requirements.
While wellness programs have increased in popularity, according to the 2014 UBA Health Plan Survey, actual wellness program adoption has been in a holding pattern. As one might expect, the highest percentage (58.8%) of plans offering wellness benefits came from employers with 1,000 or more employees and the lowest percentage (8%) of plans offering wellness benefits came from employers with fewer than 25 employees. On average, wellness programs are down slightly by 1.3%. It’s no wonder given all the pending litigation and regulation surrounding these programs, including the fact that the health of an employee population is no longer a rating factor for smaller employers.
Data in the 2014 UBA Health Plan Survey is based on responses from 9,950 employers sponsoring 16,967 health plans nationwide. Results are applicable to the small to midsize market that makes up a majority of American businesses, as well as to larger employers, providing benchmarking data on a more detailed level than any other survey. To help employers benchmark their health plan costs by organization size, the chart below shows average costs in descending order.
Since 2005, United Benefit Advisors® (UBA) has surveyed thousands of employers across the nation regarding their health plan offerings, their ongoing plan decisions in the face of significant legislative and marketplace changes, and the impact of these changes on their employees and businesses. The UBA survey represents the nation’s largest health plan benchmarking survey and the most comprehensive source of reliable benchmarking data.