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Industry Reports Now Available!

David-P-Lind-Benchmark-2012New and exciting additions to our website continue. With the Lindex scores now published, we also have five new industry reports available for purchase and download!

The 14th annual Iowa Employer Benefits Study© allowed us to generate five industry reports from the following sectors:

  1. Manufacturing
  2. Retail
  3. Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate
  4. Healthcare and Social Services
  5. Government and Education

As you might imagine, each industry sector offers benefits that will differ from one another. For example, 70 percent of Retail employers reported offering health insurance, while a larger percentage of the other four industry sectors offer health coverage: Finance/Insurance – 84 percent; Government /Education – 97 percent; Healthcare/Social Services – 80 percent; and Manufacturing – 80 percent.

So what was the average increase in health insurance premiums reported by each sector? The overall average in Iowa (regardless of employer size and industry) was seven percent. Again, this number varies with each sector:

  • Manufacturing – Up 7.0 percent
  • Retail – Up 8.9 percent
  • Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate – Up 7.9 percent
  • Healthcare and Social Services – Up 7.6 percent
  • Government and Education – Up 5.4 percent

The 2012 Study is the very first time that we’ve developed separate industry reports. With 1,206 survey respondents in 2012, we are able to establish enough data from each sector to provide a good statistical report on the benefits offered within these key Iowa sectors.

The benefits offered by employers will vary due to a number of reasons:

  • Size – Larger employers offer more comprehensive benefits than their smaller counterparts.
  • Location – Rural employers tend to offer fewer benefits than Urban/Metro-based employers.
  • Industry – There are factors inherent in each industry that will affect the type and likelihood of certain benefits being offered to employees. One example: Bargained benefits. Public organizations typically have organized labor who will bargain for specific benefits. To a lesser extent, Manufacturing will also have bargained benefits.
  • Culture – This is the ‘wildcard.’ As you know, each organization is unique due to the culture that has evolved over time. This culture is most often reflected in the benefits offered to employees.

It is for these reasons that each organization must determine how competitive they wish their benefit offerings to be.

We are always happy to assist you with any questions that you may have!

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Seeking Truth in Health Care (Part I)

Iowa Employer Benefits StudyI recently had the privilege of presenting summary results of the 2012 Iowa Employer Benefits Study© to the Iowa Hospital Association (IHA) Board. This group consists of leaders from hospitals across the state who are confronted with many difficult and disruptive challenges that will forever change how health care will be delivered and paid. It is my view the paradigm shift occurring in the insurance industry, as great as it is, pales in comparison to what is happening in the health care provider world.

Health care is very a humbling subject – the deeper I dig to learn the truths about this vast topic, the less I actually know! What a great paradox – as the health care discussion is both exhilarating and frustrating at the same time.

My message to the IHA Board emanates from four observations about the employer community that come from previous consulting work, discussions with smart professionals, attending regional and national conferences, and from our annual studies. Such observations, in no particular order, are simply stating a few obvious facts:

  1. Health insurance premiums for Iowa employers have increased by 164 percent from 1999 to 2012. A great deal of uncertainty exists for employers about the future of health insurance.
  2. Momentum continues for employers to embrace wellness initiatives – as there is an increasing desire to have both a healthier and a more productive workforce.
  3. Lack of transparency in health care is a major concern and frustration to Iowa employers and their employees. Health insurance has become a huge distraction to employers.
  4. Health care reform is viewed with considerable skepticism by Iowa employers.

Again, I admit these observations are quite elementary, especially for those who follow health care issues and policies. However, it is the potential implications of these observations that will cause major disruption within the health care industry. In next week’s blog, I will address some of those implications and how health providers will most likely be impacted.

Vaclev Havel, a Czech playwright, essayist, poet, dissident and politician (President of the Czech Republic from 1993 – 2003) once said: “Keep the company of those who seek the truth. Run from those who have found it.”

I could not say it any better – especially in the ‘new world’ of health care.

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The ROI of Wellness

In our latest 2012 Study, Iowa employers were asked about Health and Wellness initiatives they are offering to their employees. As demonstrated below, organizations with less than 250 employees are far less likely to have wellness initiatives in place at their worksite. A few major reasons for this great chasm deal mostly with cost and time. Smaller employers have fewer resources (both in time and money) and desire to spend such resources on other pressing issues.

David P. Lind Benchmark

Employers were asked what type of “return on investment” (ROI) did they observe over the last two years of having a wellness program. As the next slide demonstrates, this response varies wildly based on organization size. Most likely, larger employers spend a great deal more time attempting to assess the ROI on such programs, and they appear to be more bullish on the results compared to their smaller counterparts. As you might imagine, there are many different ways to calculate a return on investment with wellness programs – in fact, the specific process used will determine the outcome. I believe the slide below is more about the “perception” Iowa employers have when assessing the payout of such programs. Keep in mind that a return of $1 simply means a “breakeven.” Any reported amount beyond $1 means the program provides a positive return.

David P. Lind Benchmark

The questions for this particular module of our Study were developed in collaboration with the University of Iowa Healthier Workforce Center for Excellence. This module attempts to learn if Iowa employers are achieving what the Institute of Medicine in 2005 proposed under its Employee Total Health Management Program.

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