MRA survey shows group health plan costs increased 6.9 percent

insurance

Eighty-two percent of participants reported an increase in premium rates during their most recent renewal year, according to a survey conducted by MRA – The Management Association, a Waukesha-based not-for-profit employer association.

Many have taken action to address the rising costs by increasing employee premium contributions, increasing employee-paid deductibles, and increasing employee out-of-pocket costs.

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Eighty-two percent of participants reported an increase in premium rates during their most recent renewal year.

With these actions, and others, the final average health care premium increase realized by these companies was 6.9 percent.

“Notably, the 2015 final premium increase of 6.9 percent is less than what employers realized in 2014, which was a 7.8 percent final increase,” said MRA director of surveys and business research Pam Renick. “While the 2015 increase was indeed less, it still had a measurable impact on the plan designs and strategies employers are implementing.”

According to MRA, one strategy is to control participation in medical plan enrollment levels through the inclusion of eligibility audits, opt-out/waivers, spousal surcharges, spousal carve-outs and tobacco-use surcharges.

“The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is also influencing employer decisions on employee eligibility for medical benefits, whether or not to continue to offer employer-sponsored medical insurance when additional PPACA provisions go into effect in 2015, and their overall organizational growth strategies,” Renick said.

The goal of the 2015 Insurance Plans: Health & Prescription Drugs Survey is to provide data on how companies in Wisconsin are managing employee health plans and the associated rising costs. A total of 400 Wisconsin employers, representing 77,153 eligible employees participated in the 2015 survey.

MRA serves more than 4,000 employers throughout the Midwest, covering 800,000-plus employees.

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