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Anticipating the Hockey Puck

2015 Iowa Employer Benefits Study“A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”
Wayne Gretzky, superstar NHL hockey player

Last week I received phenomenal news from our research firm, Data Point Research, indicating that Iowa employers have responded to our latest survey at a record pace! Our annual goal of randomly surveying at least 1,000 employers will be accomplished during the week of June 22 – a few weeks ahead of schedule. Kudos to Data Point!

Having at least 1,000 employers participate in our 17th survey is the next best thing to surveying EVERY employer in Iowa – but certainly a lot less expensive! Through our time-proven survey process, we are able to project highly statistically accurate results. This number of respondents allows us to update our Lindex Online® program providing the accuracy desired within the employer community.

As with each annual survey, we ask Iowa employers the core benefits-related questions, e.g.: health insurance components such as premium, employee contributions, deductibles and co-payments (office calls and Rx). Understanding these many key features is crucial to predict benefit trends in Iowa. This information calculates the Lindex® scores, which serve as Iowa’s employee-benefits index.

We also strive to learn much more from Iowa employers. Gaining insight into their challenges, preferences and behaviors can help us anticipate where that ‘hockey puck’ will eventually travel within the benefits-related healthcare ‘game.’ By asking these questions, like Gretzky, we’re better able to anticipate the direction of the puck.

So what additional modules did we include in this year’s survey? Here are three:

  1. Healthcare outcomes and challenges for employers – Using a six-point scale, employers rate the importance of five outcomes they hope to achieve and five challenges facing their organization.
  2. Employer views on the prevalence of medical errors performed within Iowa.
  3. Do employers see value in having more insurance companies competing for your business, and should healthcare provider systems become their own insurance company?

As in past years, we plan to have the results of this year’s study available by early September, generating both the summary report (Study) and the Lindex Online benchmarking tool. Needless to say, the month of August serves as my ‘tax season!’

As hockey superstar Gretzky also said, “You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.”

I couldn’t agree more!

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

Lindex Online® – Hitting the Mark in Iowa

Lindex Online“Torture the data, and it will confess to anything.” Ronald Coase, Nobel Prize Laureate

Throwing darts at a dartboard takes great skill, especially if one is incented to consistently hit the bulls-eye. For most others, it is merely a game of chance – so what if the errant dart lands in a different zip code from the bulls-eye? The difference between those throwing the darts can boil down to one word – ‘motivation.’

Due to the sheer cost of offering benefits to employees – thanks largely to escalating health insurance premiums – employers are increasingly motivated to rely on credible, localized data to make decisions about employee benefits. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cost of employee benefits constitutes a significant percentage of total employee compensation – roughly 31 percent for private organizations and 36 percent for state and local governments!

An essential, on-going source of Iowa benefits information is summarized in our annual ‘Iowa Employer Benefits Study,’ which now enters its 17th year. This report provides overall statewide data that combines all industries based on employer-size categories, which is important for employers who wish to benchmark their plans with other similar-sized employers. This study gives employers a ‘birds-eye’ view of overall benefits offered by Iowa employers, but it does not compare employers to key industries – or by employer location.

But Lindex Online® does!


Lindex Online is our innovative web-based tool we designed to ‘slice-and-dice’ the myriad of data from our annual survey into meaningful benchmark information that compares key benefits offered by employers.

Lindex Radius

Lindex Radius is a benchmark filter

An online purchaser, such as an employer, broker/consultant, association or insurance carrier selects a ‘filtering’ tool that compares the client organization to six key industries – based on seven different employer-size categories. Additionally, the on-line purchaser can benchmark their benefits using the Lindex Radius, which combines only those surveyed employers who fall within a designated mile-radius of the client zip code (see Lindex Radius on right).

Key benchmarked industries include:

  1. Overall (All industries combined)
  2. Manufacturing
  3. Retail
  4. Finance, Insurance, Real Estate
  5. Other Services
  6. Government and Education
  7. Healthcare and Social Services

Depending on the number of respondents within each survey, we may consider adding a few more industries to Lindex Online in the future.

Because employee benefits data can be both voluminous and complicated for an employer, Lindex Online distills this data into one relevant number to provide clarity – known as the Lindex®.

2014 Lindex Gauge

Overall 2014 Lindex score in Iowa is 74.

The Lindex is a complex algorithm that measures the types of benefits offered, preferences employees have for each specific benefit, and employee costs associated with those benefits. Ranging from 0 to 100, with lower scores indicating fewer and more expensive benefits, and higher scores indicating more comprehensive benefits being offered at a lower cost, the Lindex allows the benchmarked employer to compare their overall benefit offering to other employers on an on-going basis.

Without great practice (and torture!), Lindex Online will guide your dart to the intended bulls-eye. To learn more about the features and cost of Lindex Online, please contact us.

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

New 2014 Lindex® Scores – Find out how to Obtain Yours!

2014 Lindex GaugeWe’ve just released the new Lindex® scores based on our 2014 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 1,002 Iowa organizations from the latest 2014 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 2014, the overall Lindex score for Iowa employers (regardless of employer size and industry) is 74. Last year’s overall Lindex score was 72. The Lindex score will vary based on the employer size and industry. For example, employers with fewer than 10 employees have a Lindex score of 61, while employers with at least 1,000 employees averaged 82. Employers in the retail industry averaged 65, while government employers averaged 83.

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

2014 Lindex by Organization Size


Below is a summary of the Lindex scores based on industry:

2014 Lindex by Industry


It’s important to note that an organization with a Lindex score of 68 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 good score for that organization.

To purchase a copy of the 2014 Iowa Employer Benefits Study© and/or Lindex Online benchmarking tool, click here.

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.

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