Study: Small employers contribute 25% more to benefit plans than required

Dive Brief:

  • A new Zenefits report shows that small businesses contribute 25% more to benefits plans in monthly premiums than required, according to a company statement. The Zenefits Small Business Benefits Benchmark Report is based on data from 8,000 small to midsize Zenefits customers.
  • The report shows that monthly premiums average $465 for individuals and $1,168 for families. Premium costs are higher in the northeast and lowest in the central region, Zenefits said. Companies contribute 73%, or 25% more than required, to individual premiums and 38% towards dependent coverage.
  • Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs) are still the dominant choice for employees, despite their high cost. PPOs account for 49% of all health plans across the country, the report shows.

Dive Insight:

Employers can use benchmark reports like these to help decide which benefits plans provide the best overall value. They can compare plan choices with those of other small to midsize employers in various regions across the country.

It's also important to weigh the advantages and drawbacks of plan specifics, including plan types (there any many), contributions, premiums, copays, deductibles and out-of-pocket costs.

As critical as managing benefits costs is for all employers, smaller businesses have opted to contribute 25% more in plan premiums than what’s required. Small businesses apparently view the extra contribution as a worthwhile investment in health coverage for employees and the recruiting and hiring of talent.

Pay especial attention to HSAs, which are ever-popular among millennials for their flexibility. HSAs are also quite costly in many cases, with some younger workers investing as much as 20% of their salaries in the plans. Employer contribution limits to HSAs may soon be addressed by healthcare legislation, making it easier for HR to assist.

Zenefits CEO Jay Fulcher said that business leaders face more uncertainty about healthcare benefits under the Trump administration. They face even more uncertainty now that the Republicans have introduced some changes to the Affordable Care Act under the proposed American Health Care Act.

AHCA provisions, so far, don’t address every phase of the ACA, but the bill does call for eliminating taxes on employers — a big plus to business advocates.

Filed Under: HR Management Comp & Benefits