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New 2016 Lindex® Scores Revealed!

2016 Lindex GaugeWe’ve just released the new Lindex® scores based on our 2016 Iowa Employer Benefits Study©. Introduced in 2013, the Lindex is an innovative tool that allows Iowa employers to distill voluminous and complicated benefits data into one relevant number.

An organization’s Lindex score will help Iowa employers:

  • Determine the competiveness of their benefits package.
  • Attract and retain a high-quality workforce.
  • Decide whether benefit changes are required to keep your employee benefits competitive.

The Lindex is a composite score used as a reference when determining the quality of benefits offered by Iowa organizations. This index is the result of a sophisticated calculation based on the benefits data submitted by 1,025 Iowa organizations from the latest 2016 Iowa Employer Benefits Study©.

Calculated once a year, the Lindex ranges from 0 to 100, with low scores reflecting fewer benefits offered at a higher cost to employees, while higher scores indicate more benefits being offered at a competitive cost.

In 2016, the overall Lindex score for Iowa employers (regardless of employer size and industry) is 74. Last year’s overall Lindex score was 71, while the inaugural year (2013) scored at 72. A few primary reasons for the overall score jumping up three points from 2015 is a result of more small employers offering health and dental coverage.

The Lindex score will vary based on the employer size and industry, which are two determining factors that effect employee benefits. For example, employers with fewer than 10 employees have a Lindex score of 64 (57 in 2015), while employers with at least 1,000 employees averaged 89 (87 in 2015).

Below is a summary of the Lindex scores based on organization size:

2016 Lindex Scores - By Organization Size

Employers in the retail industry averaged 64 (60 in 2015), while government-bargained employers averaged 88 (91 in 2015) . Below is a summary of the Lindex scores based on industry:

2016 Lindex Scores - By Industry

It’s important to note that an organization with a Lindex score of 62 might appear to be somewhat low when compared to the overall statewide score of 74, but if this score is above the average Lindex score for similar organizations based on size and industry, then it could be considered a competitive score for that organization.

Our 2016 Iowa Employer Benefits Study© and/or benchmarking tool is now available for purchase.

Should you wish to learn more about the Lindex, and how your organization can discover/attain/retrieve your own Lindex score, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section of our website.

To stay abreast of employee benefits and healthcare issues, we invite you to subscribe to our blog.


2016 Iowa Employer Benefits Study© Results
Employers Report 8% Increase in Health Premiums

Rolled Newspaper With The Headline Press ReleaseToday, we issued our 18th annual Iowa Employer Benefits Study© results. As with past studies, the wealth of data is immense. This year’s study found that Iowa employer health insurance premiums increased an average of 8.0 percent from 2015 to 2016.

The 8.0 increase is an average that factors in employers receiving no rate change, an increase or decrease in their health premiums. This number represents the average increase in premiums employers received PRIOR to making design changes to their medical plans – such as increasing cost-sharing arrangements with employees. After modifying the plan design, the net increase over the past year was 5.9 percent for single premiums and 0.5 percent for family premiums.

The 2016 Iowa Employer Benefits Study© found that average annual premiums for employer and employee contributions (combined) were $6,509 for single coverage and $15,703 for family coverage. Since 1999, the year this study began, the single premium has increased by 215 percent while the family premium has jumped by 186 percent.

Average Iowa Premiums (1999-2016)

In the six years (2005-2010) prior to the passage of the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA), family health premiums for Iowa employers increased by nearly 31 percent. During that same period, contributions by employees with family coverage have increased by 23.5 percent.

Pre-ACA Premiums and EE Contributions

During the post-ACA period (2011-2016), total family premiums increased by 18.4 percent, while employees with family coverage experienced a nine percent increase during that period.

Post-ACA Premiums and EE Contributions

How did Iowa employers respond? Interestingly, they avoided ratcheting up employee cost-sharing arrangements, such as increasing employee premium contributions and plan-sharing responsibilities, such as higher deductibles. Iowa employees were asked to contribute an average of $93 for employee-only coverage, similar to 2015. Employees with family members are asked to pay over $403 a month, a slight decrease compared to last year. Over the course of 18 years (1999-2016), employee contributions have increased by 150 percent for single coverage and 128 percent for family coverage.

Average Annual Employee Health Contributions (1999-2016)

It is interesting to note that deductibles remained statistically unchanged in 2016. In part, this is most likely due to the employer’s desire to maintain a competitive health plan offered in a labor market that has a relatively low unemployment rate. The average 2016 deductible for single coverage required by Iowa employees is $1,627, while the family deductible is $3,382. Despite the glacial change in this year’s deductibles, deductibles for both single and family have risen by 188 percent and 185 percent, respectively, since 2004.

Overall Deductible History (2004-2016)

In the six years (2005-2010) prior to passage of the ACA, single and family deductibles have increased 66.3 percent and 71 percent, respectively.

Pre-ACA Deductibles

The post-ACA period (2011-2016) reveals the deductibles have only gradually increased for single and family, 8.6 percent and 6.3 percent respectively.

Post-ACA Deductibles

Understandably, employers do not like to experience increasing premiums, as it causes a reaction that is upsetting to both employers and employees alike. Higher premiums negatively impact salary adjustments, in addition to causing infrastructure investments and profitability tensions. With this said, the employer market is considerably more stable than what is currently happening in the individual insurance markets, both in Iowa and nationally.

When considering future health plan purchases, Iowa employers ranked the importance of 13 features that would impact the coverage they ultimately embrace. Affordable cost, employee satisfaction, offering comprehensive benefits and quality customer service are the top four features important to employers.

Important Plan Features for Employers

The above information is just a small fraction of our survey results. The complete 2016 Iowa Employer Benefits Study© is available for purchase and download at this site.

To learn more, we invite you to subscribe to this blog.

2016 Iowa Employer Benefits Study© is Now Available!

2016 Iowa Employer Benefits StudyThe overall summary of the 2016 Iowa Employer Benefits Study© is now available! As we have done with recent studies, we are providing this summary report through an electronic download only, rather than a printed hard copy.

As mentioned in a previous blog, we had 1,025 Iowa employers participate in this year’s survey, reaching our goal of 1,000 respondents. In addition to the standard benefit questions presented each year, we asked employers to assess the importance of various features when purchasing a health plan for their employees and rate important items that would influence their decisions on which medical plans to purchase.

If your organization participated in this year’s survey, we sincerely thank you for sharing your data with us and for your patience while the report was being published. We realize that many employers wish to use the results of this important Study during the fall enrollment process. On October 5th, participants in this Study were sent an email from us with a unique link to gain access to this report (at no cost).

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Again, we greatly appreciate your interest in this 18th annual study!

To stay abreast of employee benefits, we invite you to subscribe to our blog.