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2018 Iowa Employer Benefits Study© Results
Employers Report 8.4% Increase in Health Premiums

Today, we issued our 19th 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 8.4 percent from 2017 to 2018.

The 8.4 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.

The 2018 Iowa Employer Benefits Study© found that average annual premiums for employer and employee contributions (combined) were $6,874 for single coverage and $17,449 for family coverage. Since 1999, the year this study began, the single premium has increased by 233 percent while the family premium has jumped by 217 percent. (NOTE: In a number of slides below, the year 2017 was excluded because no survey was performed.)

During the post-ACA period (2011-2018), total family premiums increased by 31.2 percent, while employees with family coverage experienced an 18.4 percent increase. This information is depicted in the following graph.

How did Iowa employers respond? They continue to ratchet up employee cost-sharing arrangements, by increasing employee premium contributions and plan-sharing responsibilities, resulting in higher deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums.

Iowa employees were asked to contribute an annual average of $1,351 for employee-only coverage, while employees with family members were asked to pay $5,256 annually. Over the course of 19 years (1999-2018), employee contributions have increased by 204 percent for single coverage and 147 percent for family coverage. 

The average 2018 deductible for single coverage is now $1,900, while the family deductible is $3,899. Since 2004, deductibles for both single and family have risen by 236 percent and 229 percent, respectively. Please note, the survey year 2011 was somewhat of an anomaly, as a higher percentage of manufacturing organizations were targeted to be respondents.

The post-ACA period (2011-2018) reveals the deductibles continue to climb for both single and family, approximately 27 percent and 23 percent respectively.

Understandably, employers do not like to pass along increased premiums and medical plan cost-shifting to their employees, as it negatively impacts salary adjustments and purchasing power. 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.

The above information is just a small fraction of our survey results. The complete 2018 Iowa Employer Benefits Study© is available for purchase and download on this site.

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