Employers Try New Ways to Combat High Medical Insurance Costs

Kansas City, Kan. — Rising insurance costs are forcing employers to re-evaluate the benefit options offered to employees in an effort to reduce their bottom line. Recently, United Parcel Service (UPS) announced changes to their medical insurance plans that will end coverage for working spouses of UPS employees, beginning in 2014.

Cost reduction measures are not new to employers, who have been faced with rising medical insurance costs over the past several years. According to Compdata Surveys’ national benefits survey, which features data on more than 4,500 company benefits plans covering 13 million employees, nearly 10 percent of employers assess a surcharge to employees if they enroll their spouse on their benefits plan even though the spouse is eligible for coverage through his or her own employer.

“As health insurance premiums continue to rise, employers are looking for new ways to control costs,” said Amy Kaminski, vice president for Compdata Surveys, the nation’s leading pay and benefits survey data provider. “At a minimum, most companies are reviewing options including eliminating spousal coverage, implementing surcharges when a spouse is enrolled, or conversely, offering a cash incentive for employees who opt out of coverage altogether.”

PPO plans are the most popular medical insurance program offered by employers, with 83.9 percent of organizations providing this option to employees. Employers paying monthly medical premiums as a flat dollar amount endured an average cost of $379 for employee-only plans, compared to $719 for employee-plus-spouse plans and $712 each month for employee-plus-children plans. Employee-plus-family PPO plans cost employers nearly $1,000 a month.

As another way to control costs, 8.9 percent of participants reported reducing benefit offerings. Sometimes, instead of reducing benefits, employers will shift some of the cost to their employees in an effort to offset the increasing outlay. According to the survey results, more than 60 percent of employers increased the employee portion of the premium, whereas 43.8 percent increased deductible levels.

About the Survey
Benefits USA 2012/2013 analyzes national and regional data on benefits eligibility and administration policies with detailed information on benefit plans, premiums and provisions. Information was collected from more than 4,500 benefit plans covering over 13 million employees across the country.

Since 1988, Compdata Surveys has offered quality data at sensible prices to organizations from coast to coast, and is the nation’s leading compensation and benefits survey data provider. Thousands of organizations provide data in each of our 13 industry-specific surveys every year, ensuring the reliability of our results. For more information about the surveys, contact Jessica Wahaus at (800) 300-9570.

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