McGraw Wentworth Survey Shows Health Benefit Costs Growing at 7%.

Employers, despite ACA, Making Modest plan changes.

Troy, Michigan – June 9, 2014 … Michigan employer health care costs are rising at an average of 7% after plan changes, up from 4% in 2013 and above national projections of 5.2%, according to a survey released today by McGraw Wentworth, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC company. The 2014 Southeast Michigan Mid-Market Group Benefits Survey, now in its 11th year, benchmarks health benefits and cost trends for the current year – including key decisions pertaining to health reform – among 454 Southeast Michigan-based organizations with 100-10,000 employees.

“With a focus on talent retention, 89% of survey participants indicate they plan to continue offering health benefits to full-time employees despite the changes resulting from health care reform,” says Rebecca McLaughlan, managing director, McGraw Wentworth. “To manage the rising cost trend, organizations are increasingly using strategies such as consumer driven health plans, spousal surcharges, wellness, and newer avenues like telemedicine and health advocacy.”

Additional survey analysis highlights:
• Employers are deploying consumer driven health plans (CDHP) more frequently, with 38% offering CDHP as an option or the only plan choice. This is an increase of 9% over 2013 and 65% since 2010.
• Thirty-eight percent of local employers, more than double the national trend of 16%, are using spousal surcharges or excluding spouses who are eligible for coverage from other sources. Fifty-nine percent of employees elect dependent coverage for spouse and/or children.
• Seventy-nine percent of employers offer wellness plans, 46% of which offer the plan to both employees and spouses.
• Four percent of Southeast Michigan employers now include telemedicine as a care provider option, with 19% considering offering it in 2015.
• Health advocacy programs — assisting employees with claims questions, coordination of care, and navigating the health care system — are offered by 14% of participants with an additional 18% considering this tactic in 2015.

The survey cites 103 top-performing organizations, both union and non-union, as TrendBenders™ that successfully kept their two-year average benefit cost increases at or below 2.5%. TrendBender™ organizations keep costs down with strategies like offering a CDHP plan and contributing to Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) at a higher rate, incorporating health advocacy, telemedicine and outcomes-based wellness programs with greater prevalence.

The survey tracks health care reform-related trends including:
• Similar to 2013, 89% of Michigan employers plan to offer health care coverage to full-time employees in 2015 and 2016, rather than pay the penalties for discontinuing coverage.
• More organizations are offering coverage to employees currently working 30 hours or more per week, increasing from 59% in 2013 to 74% in 2014.
• Private exchanges are not gaining traction with participating employers; none offer plans via a private exchange. Fifteen percent are considering the option for 2015.
• With the introduction of the public exchanges, 46% of employers are considering moving their plan design closer to the plans offered on the exchanges.

“Employers made their best effort to adapt to and comply with the shifting regulatory environment while developing their health plan strategy for 2014. With more changes anticipated in the future, executive leadership will need to closely examine the compensation, cost and culture impact of their decisions,” says Katy O’Brien, account director with McGraw Wentworth and survey leader. “There is no one simple answer.”

The McGraw Wentworth Mid-Market Group Benefits Survey is the largest of its kind with 545 midsize organizations participating, including 454 southeast Michigan employers. Data for municipalities and school districts is analyzed separately. The survey has a 3.9% margin of error.

Sponsored by McGraw Wentworth, survey results are shared with participants in June. For information, contact Ryan Bowers at (248) 822-6231 or visit mcgrawwentworth.com.

McGraw Wentworth, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC company, is an award-winning group benefits consulting and brokerage firm based in Troy, Michigan. The company counsels clients on how to structure their group benefit programs and provides strategic planning, utilization review, benefit design, employee communications, compliance assistance and related services. The firm is supported by Marsh & McLennan, the premier global provider of advice and solutions in risk, strategy and human capital. Follow McGraw Wentworth on twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Annual Survey Underway to Benchmark Michigan Benefits Trends, Employers’ Response to Health Care Reform

Insight into cost management, spousal coverage, and wellness trends will help participating employers plan for 2015.

Troy, Michigan, January 20, 2014 – McGraw Wentworth, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC company, has launched its 11th annual Southeast Michigan Mid-Market Group Benefits Survey. The free survey will provide employers and human resources professionals with trend data to understand how their peers adapted to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and to guide their 2015 employee health care benefit strategies.

More than 550 southeast Michigan organizations are expected to participate in the 2014 Mid-Market Survey, which includes new data points to reflect the changes in employer-sponsored health care. The resulting analysis will:

• Provide insight into how Michigan organizations modified their plans to address the policies and practices required by ACA.
• Identify whether employers modified or plan to modify workforce strategies due to the “play or pay” employer penalty, implementation of which was delayed to 2015.
• Highlight the use of defined contribution plans, private exchanges and public marketplaces.
• Examine the use of cost control strategies such as consumer driven health plans (CDHPs), telemedicine, and spousal coverage.
• Review PPO, HMO and CDHP plan deductibles and co-pays set by Southeast Michigan employers.
• Track the growing interest in and usage of wellness and disease management programs.
• Identify actions taken by TrendBendersTM, high-performing organizations that have kept average cost increases below trend over the past two years.

“The ACA has had a profound impact on employer-provided health care and more changes are still to come. The survey results, available within the same year of data collection, will help Michigan employers adapt their workforce and benefits strategies accordingly for 2015 and beyond,” said Rebecca McLaughlan, Managing Director, McGraw Wentworth. “This data is also helpful for Michigan employers that are competing to recruit and retain talent in a rebounding economy.”

Mid-size employers with 100-10,000 employees in southeast Michigan — including manufacturing, technology, service, government, education and not-for-profit organizations — benefit from the extensive survey analysis. Participants are invited to attend a free, accredited seminar to receive the results and analysis, along with a tailored report benchmarking their organization against industry peers and the entire dataset. All data will be confidential. Interested organizations can contact Ryan Bowers at (248) 822-6231 or visit mcgrawwentworth.com

McGraw Wentworth, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC company, is an award-winning group benefits consulting and brokerage firm based in Troy, Michigan. The company counsels clients on how to structure their group benefit programs and provides strategic planning, utilization review, benefit design, employee communications, compliance assistance and related services. The firm is supported by Marsh & McLennan, the premier global provider of advice and solutions in risk, strategy and human capital. Follow McGraw Wentworth on twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

McGraw Wentworth’s Health Care Reform “Play or Pay” Analysis Tool Earns Communications Award

Troy, MI – July 16, 2013 – McGraw Wentworth, an employee group benefits firm in Troy, Mich., recently earned a 2013 Renaissance Award of Honor from the Detroit Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) for its Health Care Reform Compass Report. The recognition was earned in the category of Communications Skills: Special Publications.

This is the fourth consecutive year — and the second time for Health Care Reform-related materials — in which McGraw Wentworth has earned an IABC Renaissance Award, which honors excellence in business communications designed to promote an organization’s image, marketing or specific initiatives.
McGraw Wentworth’s Compass Report provides C-suite and human resources executives with a highly detailed and customized analysis of the impact of the 2014 “Play or Pay” mandates at both the organizational and individual employee levels. Derived from an analysis of employer-provided and census data, the report provides each organization with a reasonable estimate of how many and which employees could be impacted positively or negatively by the employer’s “Play or Pay” decision.

Designed and written by McGraw Wentworth staff in collaboration with Brophy Marketing Services, the Compass report framework and logic are updated as new guidance and regulations are released. The 45-page reports are generated in-house, with information provided primarily in chart and table form. Concise text provides background and context as needed.

“There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to helping an employer prepare to comply with Health Care Reform. But every employer needs to answer the same questions,” said Thomas P. McGraw, president. “We developed this proprietary tool to educate our clients and guide them through a thoughtful, strategic decision-making process using data specific to their employee base.”

McGraw Wentworth’s 2013 client satisfaction survey indicates that clients value the Compass report, calling it innovative and timely, and rate regulatory compliance and plan design as among the most important elements of the company’s services. The client satisfaction survey is conducted bi-annually by an independent consultant.

About McGraw WentworthMcGraw Wentworth, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC company, is an award-winning group benefits consulting and brokerage firm based in Troy, Michigan. The company counsels clients on how to structure their group benefit programs and provides strategic planning, utilization review, benefit design, employee communications, compliance assistance and related services. The firm is supported by Marsh & McLennan, the premier global provider of advice and solutions in risk, strategy and human capital. Follow McGraw Wentworth on twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

About IABC/DetroitIABC Detroit is one of the largest chapters within the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). IABC is a global network of more than 15,000 communications professionals and the only multidisciplinary professional association dedicated to both internal and external communications.

Tenth-Annual McGraw Wentworth Survey to Benchmark Michigan Benefits Trends, Employers’ Plans for Health Care Reform

Troy, Michigan, January 21, 2013 – In 2014, key elements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) take effect, including employer “play or pay” mandates, mandatory coverage requirements for individuals, and health exchanges. Michigan organizations and human resources professionals are focusing on managing health care benefits costs while also adapting to and complying with the law. McGraw Wentworth, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC company, has launched its tenth-annual Southeast Michigan Mid-Market Group Benefits Survey to provide employers with benchmarking and trend data to use in developing their 2014 benefits plan strategies, including how to best navigate Affordable Care Act requirements. Results and analysis will be released in May.

More than 550 southeast Michigan organizations are expected to participate in the free survey. The 2013 Mid-Market Survey includes new data points to address the changes in employer-sponsored health care. The resulting analysis will:

  • Highlight whether Michigan organizations plan to continue offering group health coverage under health reform.
  • Benchmark how organizations intend to address the 30-hour work week, affordability test, auto enrollment rules and availability of health exchange.
  • Examine the use of cost control strategies such as defined contribution plans, consumer driven health plans (CDHPs), cost-shifting, and spousal surcharges.
  • Track organizations’ wellness initiatives, their use of incentives, and outcomes measurement.
  • Review PPO, HMO and CDHP plan costs and co-pays for southeast Michigan employers.
  • Identify the region’s TrendBendersTM, high-performing organizations that have kept average cost increases at less than 3% over the past two years.

”Health Care Reform is prompting all employers to examine their business models, to delve deeper into their workforce and benefits management strategies,” said Rebecca McLaughlan, Managing Director, McGraw Wentworth. “This survey is an important tool that helps midsize organizations understand health care cost trend and provides them with an objective overview of how their industry and regional peers intend to adapt to ACA.”

Mid-sized employers with 100-10,000 employees in southeast Michigan — including manufacturing, technology, service, government, education and not-for-profit organizations — benefit from the extensive survey analysis. Participants are invited to attend an informative survey results seminar at which they will receive a tailored report benchmarking their organization against industry peers and the entire dataset. All data will be confidential. Interested organizations should call Ryan Bowers at (248) 822- 6231 or visit mcgrawwentworth.com

McGraw Wentworth, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC company, is an award-winning group benefits consulting and brokerage firm based in Troy, Michigan. The company counsels clients on how to structure their group benefit programs and provides strategic planning, utilization review, benefit design, employee communications, compliance assistance and related services. The firm is supported by Marsh & McLennan, the premier global provider of advice and solutions in risk, strategy and human capital.