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2014 Iowa Employer Benefits Study©
is Ready for YOU!

2014-Iowa-Employers-BenefitThe overall summary of the 2014 Iowa Employer Benefits Study© is now available! As we did with last year’s Study, we are providing this summary report through an electronic download only, rather than a printed copy. You can purchase and download your report here.

In addition to the release of this Study, the Lindex Online® benchmark tool is now available! Lindex Online® is a web-based strategic planning tool that easily compares many of the benefits offered by an employer to benefits offered by other Iowa employers in real time. Learn more here.

As mentioned in a previous blog, we had 1,002 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 about their attitudes regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA), such as the likelihood of maintaining their health coverage. We also asked employers to share their views about alterations they may make to their health plans in 2015 due to the various provisions of the ACA.

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. This morning (September 17), participants in this Study were sent an email from us with a unique link to gain access to this report (at no cost). The email provides easy-to-follow instructions to download your free PDF copy.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Again, we greatly appreciate your interest in this 16th annual study!

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

2014 Study Results: Iowa Employers Report 6.8% Increase in Health Premiums

David P. Lind BenchmarkToday, we issued our Press Release on the results from our 16th annual Iowa Employer Benefits Study©. As you might imagine, there is a wealth of data coming from this year’s survey, but as always, one of the most newsworthy finding is the headline number – 6.8 percent.
Average 2014 Rate Adjustments
It is important to distinguish how this increase is determined each year. The 6.8 percent increase is an average that factors in employers receiving no rate change, an increase or decrease in their premiums. This number represents the average increase in premiums employers received PRIOR to making design changes to their medical insurance plans – such as increasing cost-sharing arrangements with employees. After altering the plan design, the net increase over the past year was 6.7 percent for single premiums and 5.3 percent for family premiums.

We have been surveying employers since 1999 (2001 was the first year we began asking questions on premium adjustments). With this relatively “tame” increase (compared to prior double-digit increases between 2001 and 2010), Iowa employers reported making the following changes during the past 12 months:

  • Passed some or all of the increased costs to employees (58 percent)
  • Absorbed the entire cost increase (26 percent)
  • Increased deductibles (19 percent)
  • Raised out-of-pocket maximums (15 percent)
  • Changed insurance companies (11 percent)
  • Increased office visit co-payments (8 percent)
  • Reduced pay raises or bonuses (7 percent)
  • Increased prescription drug co-payments (7 percent)
  • Began wellness program initiatives (6 percent)
  • Hired fewer employees (6 percent)
  • Offered Consumer-Driven Health Plans (4 percent)
  • Discontinued offering health insurance coverage (.5 percent)

Since 1999, the annual Iowa single premium has increased 189 percent, while the family premium has increased 172 percent.
Average Annual Premiums in Iowa Since 1999
Over the course of 16 years, employee contributions have increased 96 percent for single coverage and 120 percent for family coverage. These numbers are more staggering when compared to the average weekly wage (for all industries), which increased only 39.3 percent between 2001 and 2013 (Source: Iowa Workforce Development).

The overall percentage of Iowa employers offering health coverage increased to 81 percent from 77 percent in the 2013 study. This four percent increase is considered statistically meaningful. A greater percentage of smaller employers with fewer than 20 employees reported offering health coverage in the 2014 survey.

Employer Attitudes on Health Coverage
A number of questions relating to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) were directed to employers during this year’s survey. One key finding is that over 69 percent of Iowa employers feel it is ‘very important’ to offer health insurance for recruitment and retention purposes, while another 17.6 percent indicated that it was at least ‘somewhat important.’ Less than seven percent felt that offering health coverage was ‘not at all important,’ with most of these employers having fewer than 10 employees. About two percent of employers anticipate discontinuing health coverage in 2015.

Importance of Offering Health Insurance in Iowa

Grading Healthcare in Iowa
When asked to grade the overall healthcare in Iowa based on the cost-of-care that is paid by employer and employees, employers mostly graded the state with ‘Bs’ and ‘Cs.’ Only 15.4 percent of employers graded Iowa’s healthcare delivery an ‘A.’ Such grading is a reflection of how Iowa employers perceive health providers on 12 performance indicators, as documented in our white paper, ‘Voices for Value.’

The complete 2014 Iowa Employer Benefits Study© will be available for purchase and download very soon.

The above information is just a small fraction of our survey results. To learn more, we invite you to subscribe to our blog.


Coming Soon! 2014 Iowa Employer Benefits Study©

David P. Lind BenchmarkWe are very pleased that 1,002 Iowa employers have responded to our 2014 Iowa Employer Benefits Study©! This number met our goal of having 1,000 organizations participate in our 16th annual survey. The results of this study will be available in early-to-mid September.

To put this response into meaningful perspective, the 2013 Kaiser/HRET Employer Health Benefits Survey, a highly-regarded national survey, reported 592 respondents in the Midwest Region that consists of 12 states (including Iowa). In other words, our survey has 69 percent more respondents — in just ONE state! This means that we are able to accurately report the specific benefits offered by Iowa employers using extremely credible data.

As we prepare to release our 16th Study, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • The Overall Summary of the 2014 Iowa Employer Benefits Study© will be available for download from our website. As with our 2013 survey, printed studies will no longer be available.
  • Employers who participated in the 2014 Survey will be sent an invitation in September to download this report using a specific pass code.
  • Employers who did not participate in the 2014 Survey will be able to download this Overall Summary for a small fee.

We will also be updating our innovative benchmarking tool, allowing employers to compare their specific benefit offerings with other Iowa employers. Lindex-Online® was developed with simplicity and intuitiveness in mind. In addition to learning how your benefits package compares with other Iowa organizations (using many criteria such as employer size, industry and location), employers will now be able to learn their individual Lindex® score and how their total benefits package compares to Iowa norms. There are some very sophisticated aspects about this benchmark program that will be extremely helpful to employers of all size and industry!

Please continue to visit our website to learn when our 2014 Iowa Employer Benefits Study© is available for download and when our Lindex-Online® tool has been updated with fresh 2014 survey data.

An easy way to stay informed is to subscribe to this blog.