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McGraw Wentworth Mid-Market Group Benefits Survey Shows Health Care Costs Increasing at 6-Year Low of 5%
Date:5/18/2009

TrendBenders(TM) --- top-performing organizations decreased costs by an average 1% over two years --- by managing eligibility, using spousal surcharges, and wellness initiatives including smoker surcharges.

TROY, Mich., May 18 /PRNewswire/ -- McGraw Wentworth, Michigan's largest employee group benefit brokerage/consulting firm, today released the results of its 2009 Southeast Michigan Mid-Market Group Benefits Survey. The survey compares health benefits and trends for the current year among 394 southeast Michigan-based organizations with 100-10,000 employees. Highlights of the survey results show that health care benefits costs for Michigan employers after plan design changes are increasing in 2009 at an average rate of 5%, the lowest rate of increase in the survey's 6-year history, and lower than the projected national rate of 6.4%.

Survey findings reveal that Michigan employers, whose benefits plans have been traditionally richer, are coming into closer alignment with national benchmarks by, among other things, changing PPO plan designs and moving away from 100% coverage levels in HMO plans. Findings also show: increased enrollment in consumer driven health plans (CDHPs) where employees assume greater financial and health care purchasing responsibility; an increase in spousal eligibility restrictions; tighter management of coverage-eligible individuals; and an increase in the use of smoker surcharges.

"For the first time since the survey's launch in 2004 we are seeing the rate of benefit cost increases actually slow down in Michigan," said Rebecca McLaughlan, managing director, McGraw Wentworth. "Spousal surcharges, the additional amount employees pay to carry a working spouse on a plan, and other eligibility management strategies such as dependent audits are growing in use."

The survey identifies 80 top-performing organizations called TrendBenders(TM) that have been successful in keepi
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SOURCE McGraw Wentworth
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