Healthcare costs are increasing. What are employers doing about it?

Document created by 1002056 on Apr 8, 2015
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Results of our statewide 2014-2015 NC Healthcare Benefits & Cost Survey have just been released, and yes, healthcare costs have increased. Participants were emailed release details on April 6th. Contact the CAI Survey Team if you did not receive it. Nonparticipants may purchase the report from CAI's Online Store.   Most of your critical cost questions and plan design questions are answered in this report.  Conducted annually, your next shot is January 2016.


Let's take a look at some select findings from this year's 2014-2015 survey:


  • 634 local employers participated, providing both traditional health plan data and consumer driven health plan (CDHP) data.
  • 64% of employers reported traditional plan data only, 13% reported CDHP plan data only, 23% reported both.
  • Employers with 2015 plan renewals received, on average, an original premium percent increase of 10.6% and a final percent increase of 5.7%.
  • Since last year, the premium for traditional plan individual coverage has increased 4.9% while family coverage has increased 4.4%. CDHP premiums have increased 1.6% and 4.2%, respectively.
  • Employer versus employee contributions toward premiums are holding constant even as costs continue to increase (employers pay on average 81%for individual and 54% for family for traditional; 84% and 58% respectively for CDHP).
  • Traditional plan and CDHP deductibles have all increased since last year (0.3-5.4% for traditional and 4.9-6.7% for CDHP).
  • Office visit copays have increased 4-5% for traditional plans; office visit coinsurance has increased 1.7-2.6% for CDHPs.
  • Nearly all copays for traditional drug plans have increased since last year, with nearly half being a 4-tier structure (48%).


The pattern here - increased costs across the board. So what are employers DOING about it?  We asked employers what top 3 healthcare cost containment strategies they are either currently implementing or plan to put in place to address rising costs. The findings were impressive, especially when you view strategy by company size (based on number of full-time equivalent employees - FTE). Overall, all things wellness have taken center stage (38%), followed by concentrated plan redesign (28%), a focus on healthcare consumer education (13%), and implementation of CDHP (9%). But, certain things shift when looking at companies with less than 100 FTEs versus those with 100+ FTEs. For example, smaller employers are looking to transfer more cost share to employees while this is less of a focus for larger employers. On the other hand, larger employers are putting greater efforts on wellness initiatives and personal accountability compared to smaller employers.


So, what are YOU doing about it? Join the CAI Surveys Group on myCAI and start a discussion or just comment below!


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