Executive Perspectives Newsletter



November 2014


Employees Need More Information About Their Benefits: 

Only 33 percent of employees who were asked to review benefits in the prior year rated the benefits education they received as excellent or very good – a drop from 2012 (37 percent) and a reversal to the upward trend in ratings since 2009. In addition, in 2013, nearly three in 10 (27 percent) rated their benefits education as fair or poor.

Nearly Half of U.S. Employers Expected to Hit the Health Care “Cadillac” Tax in 2018:

Despite continuing efforts to rein in rising health care costs, roughly half of large U.S. employers will begin to hit the excise tax in 2018 and the percentage is expected to rise significantly in subsequent years, according to an analysis of large employer health care programs conducted by professional services company Towers Watson. Further, the size of the tax burden is expected to be substantial as the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the total liability for companies subject to the tax could be a cumulative $79 billion between 2018 and 2023.

Employee Health Trumps ROI According to New Workplace Wellness Study:

The study, entitled “Measuring wellness: From data to insights,” explored why companies implement workplace wellness, how data influences these programs and identifies obstacles that inhibit program participation. Conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by Humana, the study surveyed 225 U.S.-based executives and 630 full-time employees from organizations with workplace wellness programs.


September 2014


U.S. Employers Expect Health Care Costs to Rise 4% in 2015: 

U.S.  employers  expect  a  4%  increase  in 2015  health  care  costs  for  active employees  after  plan  design  changes, according  to  global  professional  services company  Towers  Watson.  If  no  adjustments  are made, employers project a 5.2% growth rate, putting absolute cost per person for health care benefits at an all-time high.

Combatting The High Cost Of Health Care:

In response to short and long-term cost concerns, a growing  percentage  (81%)  of  employers  plan moderate to significant changes to their health care plans over the next three years, up from 72% a year ago.

U.S. Employers Changing Health Benefit Plans to Control Rising Costs, Comply with ACA:

Health care benefit costs at large employers are  expected to  increase  6.5%  in  2015,slightly  lower  than  this  year’s  rate  ofincrease.  Most  employers,  however,  say they will be able to stem increases even more as a Pacific Coast Benefits September 2014 result  of  changes  they  are  making  to  their  benefit plans, according to an annual survey released today by  the  National  Business  Group  on  Health,  a non-profit  association  of  nearly  400  large  U.S. employers. The survey  also found that the  number of  employers  offering  workers  a  consumer-directed health  plan  (CDHP)  as  the  only  health  benefits option  is  expected  to  surge  by  nearly  50%  next year.


August 2014


Health Care Coverage and Part-Time Workers – Strategies to Meet the Needs of a Growing Workforce: 

The number of Americans working part-time has grown to about 28 million according to employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A new white paper reveals that emerging health benefits solutions can provide employers with benefit options that can assist in retaining valuable part-time employees. 

Cost Containment, Talent Acquisition Top Benefit Challenges:

A recent survey indicates that employers continue to see rising benefit costs in 2014. The two biggest challenges identified by these participants are the need to control benefit costs while attracting and retaining a competitive workforce. The survey examines how organizations are responding to healthcare reform and rising costs, as well as their approach to private exchanges, wellness and retirement programs, and other benefit trends and opportunities.

Study Unveils Small Businesses’ Approach to Benefits Decisions:

While 84 percent of small-business leaders say they either maintained or grew sales and revenue in 2013, they’re tempering those positive indicators with careful choices about hiring, compensation and employee benefits according to a new study. As small-business decision-makers adapt to a slowly growing economy and health care reform regulations – they are still concerned about taking care of employees and continuing their benefits options.


April 2014


U.S. Employers Experiencing Smallest Increases in Health Care Costs in 15 Years

The cost of providing employer-sponsored health care benefits is expected to increase 4.4% this year, a slight uptick from last year, when cost increases fell to a 15-year low, according to a recent annual survey. 

Affordable Care Act: Employer Shared Responsibility Updates

On February 10, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Treasury Department released final regulations and clarification regarding the Employer Shared Responsibility provision under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Employer Shared Responsibility provision assesses a penalty on large employers who fail to provide a minimum level of affordable healthcare coverage and have at least one full-time employee receiving a premium tax credit for purchasing individual healthcare coverage in the market place.

Despite Delayed Key Provision, Health Care Reform Triggers Benefits Action Among Employers

With Affordable Care Act deadlines imminent in 2014 and 2015, employers are reporting the increased impact of health care reform on various aspects of employee benefits. For example, nearly half (49%) of employers report they are extremely or very likely to make a high-deductible health plan their only health insurance option.


March 2014


Tips to Help Employers Maximize their Benefits Strategy through Supplemental Health Benefits

A recently released study explores the growing need and popularity of supplemental health solutions. The study examines the financial risks associated with accidents and critical illnesses and how employers can effectively leverage voluntary insurance solutions to not only provide added financial protection to employees, but to address their own business challenges. 

Who Contributes - and How Much - to Health Accounts?

Overall, about 21 million adults ages 21–64 with private insurance, representing 17.3 percent of that market, were either already in a CDHP or covered by an HSA-eligible plan. When their children were included, 26.1 million individuals with private insurance, representing 15 percent of the market, were either in a CDHP or an HSA-eligible plan. 

86% of Americans Don’t Understand Health Savings Accounts, But 50% Say They Would Likely Use One

Many Americans are confused regarding HSA eligibility, benefits and other specifics. For example, only 14% of Americans know that an HSA must be paired with a high-deductible health insurance plan.

Employees Value Benefits More Than Ever, According to New  Benefits Study

According to the new 2014 study, the degree to which employees value their workplace benefits has increased since 2012. This increase suggests that American workers are valuing their benefit packages more than ever and reaffirms the value of workplace benefits for employers’ business strategy, especially for retaining employees.


February 2014


Employers Still Feeling the Weight of Affordable Care Act Communication Requirements

Data released last month shows employers continue to grapple with the requirements and costs of complying with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliance-related challenges. And while many employers measure the success of their efforts by year-over-year cost reduction, compliance teams appear to be getting larger and organizations continue to have a vague picture of the aggregate costs of writing, producing and distributing compliance documents.

Survey Examines State of Employee Benefits

With wages stagnant since the recession, benefits have taken on new importance as employers emphasize total rewards as a way to recruit and retain talented employees. New research examines the state of employee benefits.

Do Shifts in Health Accounts Portend Bigger Changes Ahead?

While account-based health plans continue to expand, a shift in account types may portend a change in how the accounts are funded, according to new research.


December 2013


U.S. Workers Unprepared for Financial Impact of a Serious Injury or Illness

No longer than 12 weeks. That’s how long the majority of U.S. workers said they would be able to pay their bills without a paycheck if they became sick and unable to work. Almost a third said they would exhaust their resources in a month or less. When asked about different types of employer-offered benefits that can help provide financial protection, workers were significantly less familiar with these benefits compared to dental, vision and life insurance.

Workers Would Consider Other Employment Opportunities Should Their Current Employer Reduce Health Benefits

As awareness of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) grows and more employers are taking action to reduce or eliminate responsibility for employee health insurance, there is a substantial impact on the loyalty employees have to their employers.

Offering Benefits Still Gives Employers a Competitive Advantage

The vast majority or workers say that the benefits package an employer offers, especially health insurance, is important to their decision to accept or reject a job, but a quarter are not satisfied with them, according to a new survey.

Almost Half of Workers Don’t Know What Impact Affordable Care Act Will Have on Them

A new survey shows nearly half of American workers don’t feel knowledgeable about how the Affordable Care Act will impact them personally. In a poll of more than 1,000 U.S. employees (full-time and/or part-time), 47 percent of workers say they are not very knowledgeable or not at all knowledgeable about the impact the Affordable Care Act will have on them.


November 2013


Consumer-Driven Health Plans Continue to Grow in Popularity

Research shows CDHPs have become the second most prevalent plan offered by employers after preferred provider organizations (PPOs), and could potentially surpass PPOs as the most common plan type offered in the next three to five years.

Employer Provided Healthcare Continues to Be a Strong Recruitment Tool

A recent survey suggests that an overwhelming majority of…employers who provide healthcare coverage to their employees will continue to do so next year, even with the new government options available through Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Employers Hold the Line on Health Benefit Cost per Employee in 2014

Based on early responses from a major survey, employers expect health benefit cost per employee will rise by 4.8% on average in 2014. Employers have made fundamental changes in their health benefit programs in recent years that have put the brakes on unsustainable cost growth.


October 2013

Survey Examines Financial Impact of ACA on Employers

A new survey found that more than two-thirds of employers currently providing health benefits (69%) have analyzed how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will affect their health care plan costs. Additionally, of those who conducted a cost analysis, half (50.2%) were able to pinpoint the cost change in 2013 due to the ACA.



September 2013

Open Enrollment Communication Checklist for Plan Sponsors

With key pieces of health care reform going into effect in 2014, US plan sponsors have even more to consider this year as they prepare for their annual health benefits open enrollment.




August 2013

Survey Examines Financial Impact of ACA on Employers

Survey Shows Increasing Use of Flexible Employee Engagement

Delay in Health Reform Penalties for Employee Leaves Many Issues Stgill to Resolve