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New 2018 Lindex® Scores Revealed!

New 2018 Lindex® Scores Revealed!We’ve just released the new Lindex®scores based on our 2018 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 competitiveness 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 1,001 Iowa organizations from the latest 2018 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 2018, the overall Lindex score for Iowa employers (regardless of employer size and industry) is 76. The overall Lindex score from two years ago was 74. A primary reason for the overall score jumping up two points from 2016 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 affect employee benefits. For example, employers with fewer than 10 employees have a Lindex score of 65 (64 in 2016), while employers with 1,000+ employees averaged 86 (89 in 2016).

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

2018 Lindex by Organization Size

Employers in the retail industry averaged 70 (64 in 2016), while healthcare/social services employers averaged 73 (70 in 2016). Below is a summary of the Lindex scores based on industry:

2018 Lindex 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 2018 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 obtain 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.

2018 Iowa Employer Benefits Study© is Now Available!


2018 Iowa Employer Benefits Study© now available!The 2018 Iowa Employer Benefits Study© overall summary 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 1,001 Iowa organizations 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 organizations to share data on paid time off (PTO) and traditional leave components, highly popular benefits that are valued by employees.

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 August 28, 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 19th study!

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

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.

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