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What happened w/ our clientele insurance rates
Verses
What was predicted at beginning of year

BenefitsManager.net Clientele did not fall victim to early prediction
12-08-04
By Mike Oliphant

Group Policies Clientele

Clientele that had a healthy employee populace currently under the management of BenefitsManager.net saw a rate increase on average of 12% This is assuming the employer wanted to keep the plan "as is". If modifications were implemented the increase was on average 4%

Clientele that had a unhealthy employee populace currently under the management of BenefitsManager.net saw a rate increase on average of 16% The rates were brought down to an average of 8% when plan modifications were imputed.

New clientele that accepted the services of BenefitsManager.net saw prior rate increases in average of 22.13 percent.  87% of those new clients had their average increase brought down to 16% in the first year. These same clients are on track to fall into step with current clientele. New plan designs and implementation of HSAs and HRAs brought rate increases down to this figure.

Individual Policies Clientele

Clientele that had a healthy year saw no increase.

Clientele that had a moderate year saw average increases of 12%

Clientele that had a major year saw average increases of 16%

New clientele that accepted the services of BenefitsManager.net saw prior rate increases in average of 26% These same clients are on track to fall into step with current clientele. New plan designs and implementation of HSAs brought rate increases down to 18%

 

Costs of Utahans' health insurance to soar in 2004
Salt Lake Tribune - 12/08/03
By Bob Mims

Utahans escaped a national surge in costs for employee health benefits in 2003, but will see the price tag on their coverage soar nearly 16 percent in 2004. While total health benefit costs per employee rose 10.2 percent nationally this year, Utahans employed at 19 major companies with work forces of 500 or more saw their contributions rise just 2.7 percent, according to a report to be released today by Mercer Human Resource Consulting. However, health coverage costs are expected to rise dramatically for the national counterparts in shifting costs to workers through higher contributions and plan design changes.

Researchers predict that in the new year, Utahans will actually see their overall health-care coverage costs rise at a rate higher than the rest of the nation - roughly 3 percent higher, at approximately $7,150 per worker, than the projected U.S. increase of 12.5 percent. In 2003, Utah health insurance costs hit $6,170 per worker, with the average worker contribution for employee-only coverage $55 for a PPO and $46 monthly for a HMO. Twenty-seven percent of Utahans are enrolled in PPOs, 55 percent in HMOs and the remainder in other plans. The Utah Medical Association is concerned about both hard-pressed workers and their physicians, spokesman Mark Fotherighham said. "Doctors have been squeezed about as much as they can be squeezed," he said. "[Reimbursement for treatment] is staying the same or going down [and] access to care is being affected. "If the costs are going to go up that much next year, we can just hope some of that increase will be passed on to those who actually provide the care," Fotherighham added.

Intermountain Health Care, Utah's largest health insurance provider, also is worried. Already, the effects are being felt: In 2001-2002, IHC experienced a 27 percent increase in the number of people (132,000) seeking charitable treatment, spokesman Daron Cowley said. "A lot of factors go into this -- general inflation, medical advances we didn't have in the past but come with additional costs, increased demands for services...from an aging population, government regulations and mandates, and obviously malpractice litigation issues come into play," he said.

IHC sparked protests when it wrote 170,000 patients this fall demanding they sign agreements to arbitrate rather than sue over malpractice complaints. The move spawned formation of Patients Against Mandatory Medical Arbitration, which has joined with the AFL-CIO is opposing the policy.

Nationally, Americans' health insurance costs rose to $6,348 per worker this year, with a worker's contribution for employee-only coverage ranging from $66 per month for a PPO to $54 for HMO plans. Fifty-one percent of the country's workers are enrolled in PPSs; 30 percent HMOs; and the remainder in other plans.  Chris Watts, director of Denver-based Mercer's health-care practice office, said it would prove tough for employers to hold down coverage costs in 2004 without launching another wave of cost-shifting in 2004 is a safe bet," he said. Watts noted that 25 percent of the nation's employers say they will increase employee contributions, and 23 percent say they will increase cost-sharing through plan design changes. More than 10 percent plan to reduce covered services.

Comparable Utah figures for such intentions were not provided. Mercer's study mirrored many of the findings reported in an October survey by Hewitt Associates. Hewitt also predicted workers in 2004 will be required to pay 22.33 percent of a projected national average health-care costs of $7,009 per employee, up from 20.5 percent of $6,227 this year.

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