Colorado Employers' Healthcare Benefits Costs Trending Significantly Above National Norms

Oct 29, 2010, 07:05 ET from Lockton

DENVER, Oct. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- The Lockton Benefit Group in Denver today announced the results of its tenth annual Colorado employer survey regarding health benefit costs and coverage.  The findings indicate that Colorado employers are paying more for insurance than employers in other states.

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The survey was sent to 700 Colorado employers.  Survey respondents were selected based on size, industry, and visibility in the community. The survey was designed to engage a representative sample of Colorado employers to better understand the employee benefit trends in the Colorado market. This is not a scientific sampling.

The survey asked Colorado employers to give their quoted rate increase for the renewal of their 2011 medical plan(s) before benefit or contribution changes.  For the tenth consecutive year, the average company received a double-digit rate increase for its health plan.  They reported an average increase of 14.4% (before plan changes) over the prior year's rates.  This is the greatest percentage increase in five years and is significantly higher than reported nationally.  To mitigate this, more than 73% of employers plan to pass some portion of the rate increase on to their employees through plan design changes and premium share increases.  

Also notable in this year's data was the following:  

  • Of surveyed employers, 72% responded that their senior management was not familiar with the new federal health care reform legislation.  The financial impact of health care reform on employers is yet to be determined, but it is a major concern (69% of respondents said that reform was the second highest concern after the increases in plan cost).  When asked to give their reaction to the new legislation, 64% said it will have an inflationary impact on the cost of coverage and 62% felt it was overly complicated and bureaucratic.
  • Employers are more concerned than ever about plan cost increases.  Nearly 92% indicated this is a major or critical concern.  The second greatest concern (69%) was compliance with federal health care reform.
  • More than 48% of respondents report deductibles of $1,000 or more.  This is higher than nationally reported and is more than the 41% reported in 2010.  Seventy-one percent of respondents report deductibles of $500 or more.  

"This survey is significant in that it demonstrates that the rate of increase in the cost of coverage in Colorado greatly exceeds the national average for 2011," said Bill Lindsay, President of Lockton Benefit Group in Denver.  "This makes it harder for Colorado employers to compete.  Moreover, the resulting plan changes place Colorado workers at a greater disadvantage in terms of higher deductibles, out-of-pocket expense, and more significant premium cost sharing than their counterparts nationally," said Lindsay.

Questions regarding the survey can be referred to Ms. Deb Smith at 303-414-6151.

About Lockton

More than 3,800 professionals at Lockton provide more than 15,000 clients around the world with insurance, benefits, and risk management services, offering an uncommon level of client service. From its founding in 1966 in Kansas City, Missouri, USA, Lockton has grown to become the largest privately held insurance broker in the world and 9th largest overall. Business Insurance recognized Lockton as a "Best Place to Work in Insurance."   You can learn more at www.lockton.com

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