Published Date: 11/17/2014
By Sherry Hubbard-Bednasz
Many members participate in the NC Healthcare Benefits & Cost Survey, conducted by CAI in partnership with Hill, Chesson & Woody. This valuable survey provides employers with the critical information needed to manage their health plan offerings, including a comparison of medical plan designs, premium costs and cost-sharing arrangements. We want to take a moment to update members regarding a change in this survey’s data collection period. Many of you are already aware of this important change, per cards or magnet mailing, or while in attendance of any of our recent survey presentations. Historically, CAI has opened this survey in mid-November and closed it at the end of December. We have learned that adjusting the data collection period from late in the year to the very beginning of the year (January) will be advantageous for several reasons.
First, and based on your feedback, it is challenging to participate in a data-intensive survey that coincides with two major holidays. Historically, the NC Healthcare Benefits & Cost Survey opens one to two weeks before the Thanksgiving holiday and usually extends over the Christmas holiday. We understand that this is a busy time for employers and staff, especially with end of year processes taking place. Resources can be very limited at this time, whereas resources in January are less taxed.
Second, this is our chance to truly capture plan data effective January 1. Nearly 30 percent of participating employers reported a benefit plan effective date of January 2014 in last year’s survey. Of course we want to collect the newest plan information possible. In the past, our data collection window supported dual year plan data, however, as the healthcare landscape continues to change at a rapid rate and more employers are deciding their coverage paths, this change will provide a cleaner look at employers’ current plans.
Third, we are in the process of revising – simplifying – what we collect and how we collect it. The NC Healthcare Benefits & Cost Survey requests a lot of information, one might say too much. And certain variables are more pressing than others when trying to compare an organization’s healthcare costs to market. We plan to focus on those variables you need most AND make it easier for you to provide complete plan information faster. In addition, we are better constructing our questions to be in line with what you see on your Summary of Benefits & Coverage (SBC). Every organization who provides health coverage has an SBC, as it is provided by the carrier. The SBC format is the same for all, providing you “Important Questions,” “Answers” and “Why This Matters” followed by “Common Medical Event,” “Services You May Need” and “Your Cost…” Using your SBC will greatly assist in faster completion time and more accurate entry. We encourage you to track down your organization’s SBC by January 1 in preparation for participation.
We look forward to a successful data collection in January 2015, and your organization’s support. Should you have any questions or need more information about this change, please contact the CAI Survey Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.