- United Benefit Advisors (UBA) released its report on the top five best and top five worst states for group health plan costs. Geography, industry and employer size factored largely into the results.
- The top five, or least expensive, states for group health plans are Hawaii, Idaho, Utah, Arkansas and Mississippi. Hawaii, a long-time low-cost state, had a 7% decrease in costs for single coverage. By contrast, New Mexico had a 22% increase in costs for single coverage and a 30% increase in family coverage premiums.
- The bottom five, or most expensive states, for group health plan costs are Alaska, Wyoming, New York, Vermont and New Jersey. Wyoming made the list when monthly premiums rose for single coverage and family coverage from $534 and $1,326, respectively, in 2015 to $662 and $1,453, respectively, in 2016.
On the bright side, the report notes that small business costs overall were lower after years of burdensome increases. However, rates for family coverage for small employers spiked in 2016.
Les McPhearson, UBA’s CEO, says that when employers benchmark their plans’ rates nationally, costs might not seem so high, but a closer comparison of plan types across insurers, their competitors and similar group size show higher costs.
Employers could be better bargainers, he added. This is a call for employers to scrutinize these factors to get the best health plan prices. Look to value-based care to play a huge role in lowering costs in the new year.