As we kick off 2019 , the Integrated Risk Solutions, Inc. Benefits team takes stock of the value we delivered to our valued clients in 2018. Healthcare is not for the faint of heart, and we look forward to continuing to expand our next-generation management consulting process with our employer partners.
If you are an employer who has elected to offer healthcare as an employee benefit, we commend you. Your company obviously values your people, and you have made no small financial commitment—seeing as the average cost of offering healthcare was roughly $12,148* per employee in 2018. It’s even tougher for middle market employers in the 2-499 space, where over 35% reported receiving a 10%+ increase in 2018.
Our team is passionate about challenging the status quo with curiosity and grit.
Why? Because all too often, we see good companies and great people fall victim to the great American PPO healthcare heist. Not only have the insurance community and the healthcare system conspired to increase premiums at annual double digit rates, but they have also made already high deductibles even higher. We do not believe employers should settle for a double-digit increase, nor do we feel that more costs can be transitioned onto the backs of employees who are already paying too much for their coverage.
For all of 2018, our Integrated Risk Solutions, Inc. client base leveraged our next-gen, multi-year strategies, as well as our communication, wellness, and compliance resources to reduce costs and keep healthcare premiums descending, flat, or in the low single digits. We saw more rate decreases in 2018 than in 2017 and worked with many employers to increase their benefit offerings to employees. In composite, the 2018 average premium increases among our client base are below;
- Average fully-insured employer increase: 4%
- Average self-funded employer increase: 4.9%
In 2019, we expect to see middle market employers continue to realize lower healthcare costs as a result of alternate payment methods, benefit technology, flex funding arrangements, and value-based pricing. Change is coming, and if your company is looking for a new approach to managing your benefit program, you can take control of your healthcare budget.
A few other evolving macro trends for S.E. Wisconsin employers to watch:
- Employers in the < 50 life market are moving to flex-funded programs to avoid community rating, reduce premiums and lower deductibles
- Primary care only networks are expanding their geographic footprint and filling a considerable gap for high deductible programs and part time employees
- Self-funded employers leverage bundled pricing solutions on both the workers compensation and health plan (savings achieved are used to increase benefits for leveraging available resources)
Achieving best in class outcomes is not a once-a-year meeting with your benefit advisor. Our team would like to hear your challenges and build a plan for your company’s successful Benefit program, which will help you attract and retain your greatest asset: your people.
* Mercer’s National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans 2018