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NJ Voters Take Heed: Be Wary of Presidential Candidates Touting Universal Healthcare
Date:2/4/2008

Massachusetts Model is Most Expensive in Nation

BOUND BROOK, N.J., Feb. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New Jerseyans heading to the polls tomorrow should carefully consider, among other issues, a Presidential candidate's position on universal healthcare. In Massachusetts, where a healthcare program similar to a universal healthcare plan has been in effect since 2005, employers are continuing to spend more annually than other U.S. states for health insurance on a per employee basis.

The Massachusetts healthcare model requires nearly every resident to buy health insurance. The plan is certain to garner more attention this spring as penalties for companies and employees who have not yet signed up go into effect in April.

While the plan is being scrutinized as a potential model upon which to build a universal healthcare solution in the U.S. and appeals to many residents because of its comprehensiveness and relatively low cost, employers are struggling to pay for the high healthcare plan costs, according to United Benefit Advisors (UBA), one of the nation's leading independent employee benefits advisory organizations.

"The Massachusetts model is the closest concept to a national healthcare plan that we have today, and some presidential candidates in various ways have touted that model as the foundation of their healthcare platform," said Scott Rappoport, President of Benefit Sources & Solutions, a charter member of UBA. "Plans offered by employers in Massachusetts are in reality costing a fortune. During this time, when presidential candidates are debating best practices to solve the nation's healthcare crisis, NJ voters and all Americans must carefully contemplate what is being proposed and weigh their decisions extremely carefully."

UBA has recently released results of its latest national benchmarking survey, the 2007 UBA Health Plan Survey, a far-reaching industry analysis of employer healthcare plan design and cost. Collecting data from 11,723 employers throughout the nation who combined extend health benefits to nearly 4.5 million employees and family members, the survey emphasized small- to mid- sized employers, who represent the majority of the nation's 3 million-plus employers. The survey's primary purpose is to provide accurate, relevant health plan benchmarks that employers can use to help them make critical benefits decisions.

Nationwide, based on 16,485 health plans included in the 2007 survey, the average annual total cost per employee, which includes both employer and employee contributions, was $6,881.

According to UBA's survey, the five states that had the highest average total annual cost per employee in 2007 were (2006 survey results are included for comparison):

2007 2006

Massachusetts $9,304 Massachusetts $8,631

Connecticut $8,865 Connecticut $8,457

New Jersey $8,758 New Jersey $8,437

New Hampshire $8,601 Michigan $7,916

Michigan $8,520 Rhode Island $7,725

According to the 2007 UBA Health Plan Survey, the five states that had the lowest average annual total cost per employee were (2006 survey results are included for comparison):

2007 2006

Arkansas $5,169 Mississippi $4,533

Idaho $5,564 Arkansas $4,835

Mississippi $5,624 Kentucky $5,405

Kentucky $5,640 Idaho $5,444

Arizona $5,813 Arizona $5,523

Benefit Sources & Solutions, in Bound Brook, NJ, provides mid-market employer groups with a personalized and multi-faceted approach to managing their employee benefit programs. From medical insurance to 401K planning, account managers at Benefit Sources & Solutions can identify how a client's benefit program compares to other employers in their region and industry, determine appropriate benefit levels and develop the most cost-effective plan to suit the client's needs. Value-added services include complete administration and compliance support, communicating all aspects of the benefits program to the workforce, and a host of technology-based systems designed to keep companies competitive in the marketplace, maintain the best possible rates and enhance employee appreciation and morale. In the spring, UBA plans to release its 2008 Employer Opinion Survey, a companion survey to the Health Plan survey which delineates employers' specific healthcare strategies, cost-containment efforts, opinions and future expectations regarding their health plans. To participate in the 2008 survey, obtain copies of the 2007 United Benefit Advisors (UBA)/Benefit Sources & Solutions Health Plan Benchmarking Survey, or to learn more about Benefit Sources & Solutions, visit http://www.benefitsource.com.


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SOURCE Benefit Sources & Solutions
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