Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Employees in small firms pay 18 percent more for health insurance when adjusted for value of plan

10.05.2006


Generosity of health insurance plans varies widely by state; Urban states get more for their premium dollar



Employees in the smallest firms (1-9 workers) pay an average 18% more in health insurance premiums than those in the largest firms (1,000+ workers), when actuarial value--the percentage of total medical expenses paid by a health plan--is taken into account, a new Commonwealth Fund-supported study finds.

In this look at employer-provided health coverage, researchers found that type of health plan is the key determinant of both actuarial value and adjusted cost. The adjusted premiums are 25% higher for indemnity plans and 18% higher for preferred provider organization (PPO) plans than HMOs. Higher administrative costs from marketing, medical underwriting (the process by which insurers assess medical risk), and greater risks are some of the factors that contribute to the difference in premiums, say Jon Gabel, vice president of the Center for Studying Health System Change, and colleagues, authors of the new study published in the May/June issue of the journal Health Affairs.


Employees in states with large urban populations, such as California, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania, also tend to get more value for their premium dollar than those in rural states, according to this first ever state by state estimate of the cost of the adjusted price of health insurance.

When authors adjusted premium costs for the quality of benefits, Maine, West Virginia, Wyoming, and Wisconsin were the states where employers and employees got the least value for their money. For example, the average adjusted premium for California employees with average benefits is $2,833, compared with $3,203 on average across all states, and $4,001 in Wyoming, the state with the highest average premium. Other states with the lowest adjusted premiums are Hawaii ($2,717), Alabama ($2,981) and Arizona ($2,983).

"Indemnity insurers have greater market share in rural states, so employees and employers in those states end up paying higher adjusted premiums. Also, small employers are more predominant in rural states, and they have less clout than large employers in negotiating with insurers," said Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis.

Massachusetts had the highest average actuarial value, with 88% of total medical expenses paid by employer plans, compared with a low of 73% in Montana. The study, "Generosity and Adjusted Premiums In Job-Based Insurance: Hawaii Is Up, Wyoming Is Down," is based on an analysis of simulated bill paying for health plan claims from a sample of approximately 30,000 employers’ establishments from the 2002 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey-Insurance Component (MEPS-IC).

"Millions of Americans who have health care coverage are underinsured--meaning their coverage does not protect them against catastrophic costs, and they face cost barriers to needed care," said Davis. "The value of an insurance plan and the financial protection it provides are crucial for state and federal policymakers to consider when designing health care coverage strategies."

Health maintenance organization (HMO) plans have an actuarial value that is nearly 14 percentage points higher than conventional indemnity plans. Translated into dollars, an HMO in 2002 cost nearly $700 less per employee than a PPO and nearly $1,000 less per employee than an indemnity plan.

"Our research clearly tells us that HMO plans still have a strong position in the health insurance marketplace and can offer employers and employees a solid value for their money," said Gabel, lead author of the study. "The research also points to the disadvantages small employers face in purchasing health benefits due to high administrative costs."

According to the authors, between 1997 and 2002, the proportion of medical bills paid by insurance rose about 8 percentage points, from 75 to 83 percent. This is due to a shift from coinsurance to copayments in PPO and point of service (POS) plans that resulted in patients paying less because they no longer pay a deductible for physicians’ services. A second reason for the increase was that provider networks became broader; therefore more care was provided in-network, resulting in lower cost-sharing.

Additional findings include:

About half (52%) of employees in small firms (1 – 49 employees) have deductibles compared to fewer than half (44%) in firms of 50 or more employees. Just 40 percent of employees in the largest firms (1,000 and more employees) have deductibles.

Of employees in small firms who have deductibles, the average amount is $599, compared with $386 for their counterparts in large firms.

Mary Mahon | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cmwf.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold

26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Switchable DNA mini-machines store information

26.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>