Hearsay & News Review
A study published in Health Affairs showed that employers with one to nine workers pay an average of 18% more in health premiums than those in firms of over 1000 employees. When the authors adjusted premiums for the quality of benefits, ME, WV, WY and WI were the states where employers and employees got the least value for their money.
According to a Mercer survey of 3000 employers, health benefits costs are expected to increase by 6.7% to $7,564 PEPY. Care management is the number one tool employers are using to attempt to slow health cost increases.
to Medco, the increase in spending on Rx fell from 8.5% in 2004 to 5.4% in 2005.
However, spending for specialty drugs rose by 16.9% last year, following a 20.4%
increase in 2004. The top drivers in Rx spending were lipid lowering drugs,
asthma treatments, rheumatoid arthritis medications and anti-hypertensives.
Sleep aid usage grew by 31.5% last year, faster than any other drug class.
According to the American Institute for Preventive Medicine,
The IRS is proposing new rules for dependent care spending accounts and clarifying that tax credits are only available for the year in which expenses were paid and in the year services were rendered.
A survey of CFOs indicates that the rising cost of health insurance is the number one concern, followed by cash flow management and debt/equity financing. Staff recruitment and retention was third on the list. The top strategies to deal with health costs were reducing costs in other company areas, followed by increasing employee contributions or copayments.
A new MetLife survey says that the majority of workers are dissatisfied with their benefits. About 39% were satisfied with their benefits (29% at firms with less than 50 employees). Only 30% of employees felt their benefits were well communicated.
A BenefitNews.com survey on the web showed that 33% of employers pay 90% or more of the medical premiums. 27% pay 80% to 89%, 23% pay 70% to 79%, 8% pay 60% to 69% and 9% pay less than 60% of the premium charged.
reports that HMO rate hikes average 11.5% in the
More companies are self-insuring their health coverage. 71% of PPO plans and 68% of POS plans are self-funded. Even 37% of HMOs are now self-funded.
new release from the BLS shows the average labor cost was $26.86 per hour, with
wages comprising $18.82 (70%). Benefits
cost $8.04, including mandated benefits such as worker’s comp, Medicare,
unemployment and Social Security and all other benefits. Of the $8.04, the cost
for health benefits was $2.05 (7.6% of the labor cost).