August 2016

  • College and University Benefits Study (CUBS)

    Learn how your institution’s benefit plans compare to peers by reading the report of results from our latest College and University Benefits Study, which covers offerings of more than 450 private and public institutions.

    Request CUBS Report

March 2016

  • Infographic of Key Facts about 2016 Medical Stop-Loss Coverage

    Interest in stop-loss coverage has grown since the Affordable Care Act eliminated annual and lifetime dollar limits on essential health benefits — and as the number and value of high-amount claims has risen. This infographic presents 2016 data drawn from more than 200 Sibson Consulting health plan clients that have stop-loss coverage.

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September 2015

  • Infographic of Key Findings from the 2016 Segal Health Plan Cost Trend Survey

    Health benefit plan cost trend rates for 2016 will increase for most medical plan options and increase substantially for prescription drug coverage to double-digit rates, according to forecasts compiled in the 2016 Segal Health Plan Cost Trend Survey, Segal’s nineteenth annual survey of health plan cost trends. Trend is the forecast of annual gross per capita claims cost increases.

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  • 2016 Segal Health Plan Cost Trend Survey

    The following are among the key survey findings:

    • Trend rates for prescription drug coverage are projected to increase substantially to double-digit rates: 11.3 percent for prescription drug carve-out coverage for actives and retirees under age 65 (up from 8.6 percent projected for 2015) and 10.9 percent for retirees age 65 and older (up from 7.5 percent projected for 2015).
    • The projected specialty drug/biotech drug trend rate for 2016, is projected to be 18.9 percent, and is expected to be a leading driver of plan cost increases for many of our clients.
    • The most common medical plan types offered to actives and retirees under age 65 — open-access preferred provider organization (PPO)/point-of-service (POS) plans and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) — are projected to vary by 1 percentage point: 7.8 percent and 6.8 percent, respectively.
    • Medical trends for retirees age 65 and older are projected to be much lower than active employee health plan cost rends with less of a differential between plan type offerings: 2.9 percent for Medicare Advantage (MA) PPOs and 3.5 percent for MA HMOs.

    It is important to keep in mind that medical health plan cost trends still dramatically outpace the consumer price index for all urban consumers (CPI-U). As long as medical plan trend continues to be substantially above core CPI (which is used to increase the Affordable Care Act’s 40 percent excise tax threshold), a growing number of health plan sponsors will likely exceed the Affordable Care Act’s excise tax threshold in the years ahead. Consequently, plan sponsors will need to continue to focus their efforts to decrease health care spending before the excise tax on high-cost health plans goes into effect in 2018. It is important to make projections now to determine whether (or when) a plan will be subject to the excise tax in 2018 and beyond.

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January 2015

  • Progression of Health (Conceptual Model Foundation)

    Many organizations are experiencing the toll that an unhealthy workforce takes, with resulting increases in health and absence costs as well as lost productivity. How can employers reduce the cost of health care? One approach is to implement a wellness philosophy. A strong wellness philosophy incorporated into all phases of how the employer operates can deliver excellent results – but requires an investment. Actuaries can help to ensure that organizations allocate their investment in the most effective and productive way.

    Sibson Consulting recently partnered with the Society of Actuaries (SOA) to develop an evaluation and planning model for wellness programs that incorporates a wide variety of economic, environmental and social factors that impact health, lifestyle behaviors and the effectiveness of an organization.

    Sibson’s holistic actuarial model approach can help your organization’s leadership make better, more informed decisions about reducing health costs by implementing the right wellness initiatives – and our experts can guide you in how to best communicate objectives to your employees.

    For the full report, please visit the SOA website and click on the Study Report.

    To learn more about how Sibson’s actuarial conceptual wellness model approach can help you implement a cost-effective wellness design to help reduce costs to your existing health programs and create a healthier workplace, please contact your Sibson consultant or Len Spangher, Vice President & Senior Health Consultant, one of the study’s authors.

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October 2014

  • Infographic of Key Findings from the 2015 Segal Health Plan Cost Trend Survey

    “Health benefit plan cost trend rates for 2015  are forecast to drop slightly for some coverage, but increase substantially for  prescription drug plans,” said Edward  Kaplan, National Health Practice Leader. “As the health benefits landscape  continues to change, sponsors of large group plans must stay focused on  exploring health plan strategies that produce high value medical benefits with  stable cost trends.”

    These are the key findings from Segal Consulting's 2015 Health Plan Cost Trend Survey.

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  • Annual Compensation Planning Analysis Flat, Consistent with Last Year’s Results

    Sibson Consulting's Annual Compensation Planning Analysis indicates that  salary-increase budgets will stay flat and relatively consistent with last  year’s results.

    “In 2014, salary-increase budgets were 3.0 percent for  both executive and exempt jobs, up slightly from 2013 results, while non-exempt  jobs remained at 2.9 percent,” commented Jason  Adwin, Sibson senior vice president. “These results are still below  pre-2008 levels, which were typically in the 3.5 - 4.5 percent range. For 2015,  a 3.0 percent increase is projected across all job classifications.”

    Sibson's Annual  Compensation Planning Analysis of projected and actual salary-increase budgets  and structure salary-range adjustments provides data for three broad job  classifications—executive, exempt and non-exempt— in 11 distinct industry  groups:

    • Banking and finance
    • Education
    • Health Services
    • Information Services/telecommunications,
    • Insurance
    • Manufacturing
    • Nonprofit
    • Retail
    • Services
    • Transportation 
    • Utilities

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  • 2015 Segal Health Plan Cost Trend Survey

    Health benefit plan cost trend rates for 2015 are forecast to drop slightly for some coverage, but to increase substantially for prescription drug coverage, according to data compiled in the 2015 Segal Health Plan Cost Trend Survey, Segal's eighteenth annual survey of managed care organizations, health insurers, pharmacy benefit managers and third-party administrators.

    Trend is the forecast of annual gross per capita claims cost increases that takes into account various factors, such as price inflation, utilization, government-mandated benefits, and new treatments, therapies and technology. Although there is usually a high correlation between a trend rate and the actual cost increase assessed by a carrier, trend and the net annual change in plan costs are not the same. Changes in the costs to plan sponsors can be significantly different from projected claims cost trends, reflecting such diverse factors as group demographics, changes in plan design, administrative fees, reinsurance premiums and changes in participant contributions.

    Notable findings from the survey include the following:

    • Medical health plan trends for actives and retirees under age 65 are forecast to vary widely for 2015, from a low of 6.2percent for health maintenance organizations (HMOs) to a high of 10.4 percent for fee-for-service coverage.
    • More closely managed medical plans, like HMOs and preferred provider organizations (PPOs)/point-of-service (POS) plans with primary care gatekeeper models, are forecast to see a 1 percentage-point drop from 2014 projections.
    • Projected 2015 trend rates for PPOs and POS plans combined show regional variations.
    • The increase in the cost of prescription drug carve-out coverage for actives and retirees under age 65 is expected to jump to nearly 9 percent. Prescription drug trend for retirees age 65 and older is expected to rise to 7.5 percent, more than twice the rate of retiree medical cost trends.
    • The projected specialty drug/biotech trend rate for 2015 is an exceptionally high 19.4 percent.
    • Trends for dental coverage are expected to be either flat or higher for 2015 compared to 2014 projections, whereas trends for vision coverage are forecast to be lower.
    • Price inflation remains the largest component of trend for hospital services and brand-name medications.

    The survey also examined 2015 projected medical trends by service type (hospitals, physicians and prescription drugs). Similar to prior-year projections, price inflation remains the largest component of cost increases.

    The key findings from Segal’s 2015 Health Plan Cost Trend Survey are illustrated in an infographic that can be found here.

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September 2014

  • Infographic of Results from Sibson's Latest College & University Benefits Study

    Leaders of universities and colleges are extremely interested in how the benefits they provide compare to the offerings of their peers. Sibson Consulting has an extensive database of benefits offered by more than 600 higher education institutions, including differences among the benefits offered to faculty, administrative and clerical staff. Sibson draws on that database for its College & University Benefits Study (CUBS).

    An infographic of selected results from Sibson’s latest CUBS presents the study findings on the following benefits:

    • The most prevalent type of medical coverage offered,
    • The cost increase for preferred provider organizations (PPOs)/point-of-service (POS) plans between 2013 and 2014,
    • Institutions’ contribution to defined contribution (DC) retirement plans as a percent of compensation,
    • DC plan vesting,
    • Most prevalent wellness program initiatives offered,
    • Non-traditional benefits offered, and
    • Where employees’ children can use tuition reimbursement.

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August 2013

  • Report of Results from Sibson's First Annual College & University Benefits Study

    Higher education institutions are extremely interested in how the benefits they provide compare to the offerings of their peers. Sibson Consulting designed and conducted a College & University Benefits Study (CUBS) to collect detailed information about higher education institutions’ benefits, including differences among the benefits offered to faculty, administrative and clerical staff. This report gives an overview of the results from Sibson’s first CUBS, which covers benefits offered in 2012 by over 600 institutions, as well as institutions’ health plan strategies for 2013.

    Key CUBS findings include the following:

    • Preferred provider organizations (PPOs)/point-of-service (POS) plans were the most prevalent type of medical coverage in 2012 for 72 percent of institutions in the study.
    • The percentage of medical plan premiums paid by employees for both employee-only and family coverage in 2012 were lowest for those covered by a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), as an inducement for employees to enroll in that type of coverage.
    • Educating faculty and staff about cost-effective use of their health benefits is an important part of institutions’ 2013 health strategy with a majority of institutions indicating that this is a major initiative.
    • Wellness is a clear priority, with 55 percent of the institutions in the study offering weight-loss programs, tobacco-cessation programs, flu shots and health-risk assessments — and 73 percent allowing employees to use the campus fitness center.
    • The types of retiree health benefits offered to employees of public and private institutions differ. For example, public institutions are more likely than private institutions to offer retiree health benefits to new hires (87 percent vs. 66 percent), and private institutions are more likely than public institutions to offer an account-based defined contribution (DC) retiree health plan to new hires (29 percent vs. 7 percent).
    • Pension offerings also differed between institutions in the private and public sectors. All private institutions offered DC retirement-income plans and only 5 percent offered defined benefit (DB) pension plans. In contrast, 79 percent of public institutions offered both DB and DC plans.
    • Institutions’ median contribution to their DC retiree income plans was 10 percent of compensation, which is more than three times greater than the median seen in the corporate sector.
    • Tuition benefits are a valuable tool for recruiting and retention, with competitive differences arising from how institutions incorporate limits, such as waiting periods, the number of credits available, where courses can be taken and who is eligible for this benefit.
    • There are some differences in the benefits offered to faculty, administrative staff and clerical staff. Tuition, retirement and paid-leave benefits tend to be where those differences are greatest. For most other benefits, however, the differences, if any, tend to be minor.
    • Institutions offer a wide range of non-traditional benefits (e.g., group auto insurance and legal services) that employees value and many of which have no cost to the institution.

    The report concludes with observations on the findings, comments on opportunities that institutions may want to consider and some notes about developments that may affect the outlook for benefits.

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