What’s on the Healthcare Change Menu for Employers? Plan Variety with a Side Salad

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sherry for newes.jpgOpen enrollment is around the corner for some of you. What kind of health plans are you offering? Did you know in CAI’s recently released NC Healthcare Benefits & Cost Survey that about 64% of employers are sticking with traditional plans only, about 13% are offering consumer driven plans only and about 23% are offering both? As we see an uptick in employers offering both plan types (up from 13% five years ago) to accommodate both a changing healthcare landscape and annually increasing costs, what does this mean for employers who still want to provide their staff with quality but cost-conscious health coverage? One word: containment.


But first, where do premiums stand? Traditional plan premiums are running about $6,000 annually to cover individual employees and about $17,500 annually to cover families. Five years ago, premiums ran about $5,200 and $14,800, respectively. Even as traditional premiums have gone up about 5% on average each year since we started conducting this survey, employer contributions have remained fairly constant whereas employers cover about 81% of the individual premium and 54% of the family premium. Consumer driven plan premiums have experienced similar increases, but to a lesser degree and employers typically cover more of the cost.


So how are employers managing – or curbing – costs?  Please share what changes you're thinking about below in the comments.   How does an employer with 100 FTEs, with a traditional plan, contribute $4,860 for 20 individual employees and $9,450 for 80 employees with families? We’re talking $97,200 + $756,000 = $853,200 annual employer contribution. Five years ago, this amount was a more palatable $720K. This year’s survey asked employers to share what they are doing. We learned in the survey that many employers are implementing or plan to implement various healthcare cost containment strategies. Of the 58% who provided a response, this is what we found by employers with less than 100 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) versus employers with 100+ FTEs:



Employers with

Less than 100 FTEs

CC Strategy

Employers with

100 or More FTEs

Plan Redesign 33.1%*


Wellness Push 42.7%**

Wellness Push 30.3%


Plan Redesign 24.7%

HC Consumer Education 11.5%


HC Consumer Education 14.1%

Consumer Driven Plan 9.6%


Consumer Driven Plan 8.5%


*Emphasis on increasing employee cost share/reducing employer contribution

**Emphasis on supporting employees’ personal accountability for own health


Results taken from 2014-2015 NC Healthcare Benefits & Cost Survey, released April 2015. Prior year data taken from 2010-2011 NC Healthcare Benefits & Cost Survey. Note participant samples and methodology vary across surveys. Want to learn more? Visit CAI’s Online Store to purchase the full report. Also join the CAI Surveys Group on myCAI for more discussion. Remember to support CAI Surveys so you can ensure access to quality data, at no charge.