The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) annual employer health benefits survey provides individuals and companies with a detailed insight into modern trends in employer health benefits. This survey of non-federal and public firms covers a wide range of health-related topics including premiums, self-funded contributions, cost-sharing provisions, offer rates, wellness programs, and employer practices.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these sections to get a better understanding of how they functioned in 2021.
Health Insurance Premiums
Many changes came about in 2021. Rising annual health premiums for both employer-sponsored family and single-member health premiums was just one of those many things families and individuals had to adapt to. Over the past year, each group saw a 4% cost increase on their premiums with averages sitting at $645 per month for single coverage and $1,852 per month for family coverage.
And while there was a 5% wage increase that could have potentially helped to offset the new difference, a simultaneous 1.9% adjustment in increased inflation prevented the pay raises from helping out as much as they could have.
Typically, when you sign up for health coverage with your employer, there will be a certain portion of your medical expenses set aside that you must pay out of pocket. This deductible usually must be covered by the employee before any other medical services are covered by the employer-provided insurance program. For those with single coverage, this means they have to pay an average $1,669 on their deductible–a shocking 68% increase over the last ten years.
Largely, this increase has come as a result of both higher deductibles within specific plan types and higher enrollment in High Deductible Health Plans with Savings Options (HDHP/SOs). Over the past five years alone, there has been a rise from 23% to 29% in employees with annual deductibles exceeding $2,000.
Offer Rates for Coverage
Unlike other statistics, the numbers for those employers who offer health benefits to their employees have stayed very similar to previous years, riding at approximately 59%. However, the larger a company is, the more likely it is to offer this kind of benefit. Smaller firms with less than nine employees only have a 49% likelihood of offering health coverage, while those institutions that employ more than a thousand individuals are far more likely to receive coverage. This leads to 91% of working individuals being employed by a company that provides health coverage options.
However, just because an individual is employed by an insurance-providing company does not mean they qualify to receive any insurance themselves. Some individuals are ineligible to enroll for health benefits at their companies if they are part-time employees, haven’t met set waiting period time limits yet, or have a temporary work status. Others simply cannot afford the coverage offered or are receiving coverage through another source.
Of those employees who qualify for coverage, the average individual must contribute 17% of their premium to receive single coverage and 28% for family coverage.
And if the institution an employee works for is classified as a small employer–maintaining a staff of three to one hundred and ninety-nine–their payments could be even higher. This is because a higher number of small employers–a total of 29%– require their employees to cover the full amount of the premium compared to the 5% of larger employers who require the same.
Many firms, both large and small, work to provide their employees with health and wellness programs that help them to address and manage certain conditions including health risk assessments, biometric screenings, and health promotion programs. Some even built activities and programs like telemedicine services to help offset the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic’s continuing foothold on the workplace.
To help address the growing health needs of individuals working from home, 17% of smaller businesses and 34% of larger businesses expanded and modified their programs to better help their employers. Additionally, there were provisions and expansions made to create and grow existing counseling services, support for those in emotional or financial distress, and those dealing with stress by 38% for smaller firms and 58% for larger firms in an effort to support the workforce.
While telemedicine services have been around for a while, the ability to communicate with and be seen by providers over video chat or other technology-based services has grown exponentially in the past year due to the pandemic. In fact, 47% of smaller institutions and 66% of larger firms increased promotion of their existing telemedicine resources to better communicate those services to their employees while also increasing those services by 19% and 35% respectively.
Employee Benefits Made Easy
At Beckham Insurance Group, our knowledgeable and experienced employee benefits representatives are here to help make your benefits administration as easy and stress-free as possible. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you build a competitive and comprehensive benefits program.