Good news everybody

From the Kaiser Family Foundation on employer sponsored health insurance:


The key findings from the survey, conducted from January through May 2014, include a modest increase in the average premiums for family coverage (3%). Single coverage premiums are 2% higher than in 2013, but the difference is not statistically significant. Covered workers generally face similar premium contributions and cost-sharing requirements in 2014 as they did in 2013. …

This is the private, off-Exchange market.  The big news here is that there is minimal change.  That is massive news after the disruption of 2014 coming into play with new community underwriting guidelines, and new requirements for benefits.  Not much of a change is a massive change.  Not much of that lack of change is directly attributable to PPACA in my mind unless you want to make an argument that there are some very nice positive spillover benefits from Medicare starting to pay for quality instead of quantity. 

More importantly, most of the total premium cost growth minimization is not coming through increasing cost-sharing.  Deductibles barely went up at the rate of nominal economic growth, and cost sharing is not too much more prevalent.  Instead, networks are getting narrower and very high cost providers are starting to be excluded. 

I know that Mayhew Insurance has been getting bombarded in the past 18 months from large self-insured employers for us to design and build custom networks for their employees.  We’ve always done that (our best selling commercial plan is a custom narrow network), but the amount of interets has perked up beyond that of just hospitals who wanted to build their own home host networks.  Big employers who sponsor bowl games and have hockey arenas named after them are in on narrower networks (these networks are 90% of the broad network) where the goal is to mainly dodge two and three standard deviations above regional pricing providers. 

IF these types of trends keep up for a couple of years, this is very good long term news.

11 replies
  1. 1
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Oh, dear, a market based solution is succeeding!

    Someone alert Wall Street to put a stop to this crap at once!

  2. 2
    piratedan says:

    yet the spin on this from over at MSN.COM is:

    Health deductibles soar by 47% to over $1,000

    This is why I want to strangle the main players in our failed media experiment… they set the spin up in how they title and set up their links, yet the article itself is showing mostly good information but this item is cherrypicked and given emphasis.

    I really hate those bastards that do this kind of crap setting up the narrative by these kinds of means.

  3. 3
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @piratedan: Strangling is too kind.

    Vivisecting is more what needs to happen.

  4. 4
    bruceJ says:

    I’ll admit the voice in my head said the title of this post in Prof. Farnsworth’s voice, so I did worry a bit :-)

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    With a dull spoon.

  5. 5
    Punchy says:

    This is great news for John McCain.

  6. 6
    ThresherK says:

    Nice Professor Farnsworth nod.

  7. 7
    Belafon says:

    Did the day end that early?

  8. 8
    Richard Mayhew says:

    @ThresherK: This is the 13th of a series of Good News posts:

    Usually either pricing or enrollment related.

  9. 9
    Petorado says:

    Every year, for as long as I could remember, the annual health benefits staff meeting was a dreadful affair, punctuated by the anvil drop of how much insurance costs had increased and how the employer was trying to absorb as much of that increase as they could, but would inevitably pass some costs to the staff either through benefit reductions or cost-sharing. This is some pretty amazing news that the healthcare costs death spiral has finally been arrested and sanity is in sight.

  10. 10
    WereBear says:

    @bruceJ: On a very hot and humid day.

  11. 11
    MomSense says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    I think I have a blog crush on you!

Comments are closed.