Trends in Employer Sponsored Health Plans

How does your organization’s health insurance plan compare to other employers in your area? Recent findings from Employers Council’s 2018 Health, Welfare & Retirement Plans Survey found that employers in Arizona, Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming were experiencing an eight percent increase in their health insurance costs at the time of their last renewal after negotiations and plan changes.

The three most common cost containment methods employers used to lower their health insurance costs in 2018 were to increase the employee cost for single coverage; increase the employee cost for dependent coverage; and raise deductible, coinsurance levels and/or copay levels. These are the same three strategies used by the majority of employers as reported in the last several surveys.

Key finding from the 2018 survey:
Average Monthly COBRA Health Insurance Premium for Single (employee only) Coverage. The 2018 average premium for single coverage for all plan types combined (HMO, PPO, POS, HDHP) is $532 in Arizona, $604 in Colorado, $568 in Utah, and $654 in Wyoming.

Other findings from the 2018 survey:

  • Percentage of Health Coverage Paid by Employer. For single coverage (employee only) in Arizona, on average, the employer pays 85 percent of the premium, Colorado 84 percent, Utah 80 percent, and Wyoming 83 percent.
  • Types of Plans Offered. Eighty-eight percent of Arizona respondents offer a PPO plan and 83 percent offer a HDHP, 67 percent of Colorado respondents offer a PPO plan and 59 percent a HDHP, 76 percent of Utah respondents offer a PPO plan and 78 percent a HDHP, and 86 percent of Wyoming employers offer a PPO and 82 percent offer a HDHP. Multiple plan options were reported.
  • Employer Contributions to HSA. The majority of employers contribute to an employee’s HSA account when offering a HDHP. In Arizona, employers with HDHP contribute an average annual amount of $540 for single coverage, Colorado employers contribute an average annual amount of $625, Utah respondents contribute $615, and Wyoming respondents contribute $651.
  • Health Care Cost Per Covered Employee. In Arizona, the average 2017 health care cost per covered employee was $8,846, Colorado was $12,094, Utah $12,618, and Wyoming was the highest at $16,426.
  • Health Coverage Self-Insured/Self-Funded. Ninety-one percent of Wyoming respondents have a self-insured/self-funded plan, 54 percent of Colorado respondents, 58 percent of Arizona respondents, and 62 percent of Utah respondents.
  • Encourage Participation in Wellness Programs. The majority of organizations provide incentives to encourage employee participation in company sponsored wellness programs. Ninety-two percent of Arizona respondents provide incentives to participate, 88% percent of Colorado respondents, and 100 percent of Utah and Wyoming respondents provide incentives.

Early projections for 2019 health insurance increases are at seven percent for Arizona, Colorado, and Utah employers. These projections are from Employers Council’s 2018 Planning Packet Survey. Also in this year’s survey, we asked if employers were giving lower pay increases in 2019 due to higher health insurance costs. Eighteen percent of Wyoming respondents plan to give lower 2019 pay increases because of rising health insurance cost and 5 percent of Arizona respondents. There were no respondents in Colorado or Utah who indicated they were going to utilize this strategy in 2019.

The 2018 Health, Welfare & Retirement Plans Survey includes responses from 464 organizations in Arizona, Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. These respondents represent a cross-section of industries and employment sizes. There are two editions of the 2018 Health, Welfare & Retirement Plans Survey: One report includes Arizona, Colorado, and Wyoming organizations and the other report includes only Utah respondents.

The full results from both editions of the 2018 Health, Welfare & Retirement Plans Surveys are located on our website at https://www.employerscouncil.org/resources/surveys. You must sign in to the website to access these survey results. Utah Grandfathered members may purchase the survey results by contacting Surveys@EmployersCouncil.org.