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McGraw Wentworth Mid-Market Group Benefits Survey Results Show Eligibility Management is Leading Cost Saving Strategy for Michigan Employers
Date:5/19/2008

a full-time college student, the parent may be asked to present a college transcript. In instances where a spouse is offered coverage by his/her employer, some employers have implemented a spousal surcharge while others have opted not to allow spousal coverage for individuals eligible for coverage under another employer's plan. Employers that effectively manage eligibility can directly impact their benefit costs by minimizing the number of ineligible dependents they cover. The savings to employers from an eligibility audit can be significant according to McLaughlan.

Survey participants identified the most effective cost control strategies as:

-- Increased deductibles and co-pays,

-- Increased employee contributions,

-- Wellness,

-- Consumer-directed care including offering Consumer Directed Health

Plans,

-- Changing health plan vendors, and

-- Disease management.

"At the end of the day, despite these measures to control costs, employers in southeast Michigan continue to provide employee benefits at a higher cost than we see nationally," said Karen Alter, account director, McGraw Wentworth and survey leader. "Locally, health benefit plan increases were at 7% after plan changes while nationally they remain at 6.1% for the third straight year. This trend continues in spite of Michigan's weak economy."

The survey analysis also provides a Total Cost Ratio comparing what Michigan employers and employees pay in total for benefits in 2008 including premiums, employee payroll contributions and out of pocket costs. Specifically, the Total Cost Ratio in 2004 for a median PPO Plan for an individual was $382 per month of which the employer paid 67% or $255 and the employee paid 33% or $127 in payroll deduction ($57) and deductibles and co- pays ($70). In 2008, the median plan Total Cost Ratio is $504 per month of which the employer is paying 61% or $309 and the employee is paying 39% or $195 in payr
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SOURCE McGraw Wentworth
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