Driving Decisions with Data

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1 2014 Benefits Strategy & Benchmarking Survey EXECUTIVE SUMMARY & STRATEGIC INSIGHTS Driving Decisions with Data

2 Table of Contents Survey Overview...3 Participant Profile...5 Key Findings...7 Strategic Insight...8 Medical...16 Wellness...20 Dental...23 Life Insurance...25 Absence & Disability...27 Retirement...30 Voluntary & Miscellaneous...33 About Gallagher

3 Survey Overview Employers must continually align their human capital strategy and benefit programs to improve their competitive position. By taking a well-informed and holistic total rewards approach to planning, they can more consistently and effectively meet human resources and organizational objectives now and in the years ahead. Human capital should be considered whenever you assess, revise and develop your strategic business plan. After all, it s your people who drive your organization forward every day. Attracting and retaining the right talent is critical to ensuring success in any industry, so it s important to give careful thought to all the factors that affect your workforce. The ideal strategy and employee value proposition considers the physical, financial and career health of your employees in balance with the financial health and longevity of your organization. A fragmented approach to benefit strategies makes it difficult for organizations to see the impact of their human capital decisions on their overall well-being. Employers have traditionally viewed healthcare benefits, retirement and work-life balance as individual programs. When these components are treated as disparate moving parts and addressed independently, the ability to accurately assess the effectiveness of human capital is compromised. You make substantial investments in your valued employees, and to accurately analyze your return, you need the perspective that only a total rewards framework can bring. Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. s 2014 Benefits Strategy & Benchmarking Survey results yield practical insights into all elements of this holistic framework. The detailed results of our survey are based on a robust national data set. Along with statistical market comparisons, the reports produced from these results include Gallagher thought leaders strategic interpretations of the data. They identify key findings and provide an in-depth analysis of the current and future employee benefits market, helping your organization to proficiently navigate the uncertain terrain of an evolving employee benefits landscape. 3

4 SURVEY OVERVIEW This executive summary provides a strategic, high-level overview of the survey results as well as separate analyses of each major benefits category. Our more comprehensive national report allows you to take a closer look at these findings. It contains all survey questions, and illustrates the answers through graphics and tables that break out the collected data by the following parameters: Northeast South Central For-Profit Organizations 100 to 499 FTEs North Central West Not-for-Profit Organizations 500 to 999 FTEs Southeast Under 100 FTEs 1,000 or more FTEs Industry and state reports are also available in a format similar to the national report. They offer peer benchmarking opportunities based on data that s directly relevant to your industry or locale. Detailed, up-to-date benchmarking data helps your organization accurately assess your benefit programs in comparison to your peers. By determining where you stand in the marketplace, you ll be able to identify and better address any competitive gaps. While it s true that integrating total rewards programs involves a more strategic, informed and holistic approach, this effort will likely yield a more sustainable future for your organization. We hope this report stimulates discussion about your strategic vision for your human capital, and empowers you to move beyond business barriers. To continue or begin that conversation, please contact your local Gallagher representative or one of the practice leaders listed on the back cover. Thomas Cummins, CCP Survey Practice Leader Andy McNulty Benefits Survey Manager A well-informed, holistic approach for developing total rewards programs is a proven contributor to organizational success and growth. Employers will find strategic planning backed by solid data well worth the effort. Thomas Cummins 4

5 Participant Profile A total of 1,833 organizations across the United States participated in Gallagher s Benefits Strategy & Benchmarking Survey in The design of the questionnaire and collection process helps ensure accurate identification of employee benefits data. In addition, the data parameters allow employers to narrow the scope and focus on their relevant market. The charts in this section outline participating organizations by location, industry, size and type. Region 39 % NORTH CENTRAL 14 % NORTHEAST 19 % WEST 21 % SOUTH CENTRAL 7 % SOUTHEAST 5

6 PARTICIPANT FINDINGS Industry Public Entity Manufacturing Healthcare Education Business Services Wholesale/Retail Financial Social Services Technology Construction Entertainment/ Hospitality/Restaurant Legal Associations Transportation Energy Religious Institution NUMBER OF ORGANIZATIONS Full-Time Employees (FTEs) Domestic Under ,000 or more 39 % 36 % 10 % 15 % Ownership Structure 61 % FOR PROFIT 39 % NONPROFIT 6

7 Key Findings Controlling employee benefit costs remains the biggest overall challenge employers face. So it s no surprise that containing healthcare expenses was the most prevalent concern for human resources. Attracting and retaining a competitive workforce was the second largest overall challenge. Only 31% of organizations have quantified the cost of healthcare reform. Among those respondents that have quantified the cost impact, 42% expect to see costs increase by at least six percent in 2014, and 26% expect those costs to increase by 10% or more. In comparison, our 2013 data revealed that 55% of organizations expected a cost increase of five percent or more. Increasing employees plan contributions was the most popular healthcare cost containment strategy in An increase in deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums and copayments ranked second, third and fourth, respectively. Changing plan carriers was the fifth most common approach to containing healthcare costs. It s unclear how effective these adjustments will be. If they do not contain costs, employers may increasingly turn to the defined contribution model for relief. Benefits access and utilization management tactics were not a common cost containment choice for Most organizations continue to actively cost-shift to employees, yet they are reluctant to pull the levers that control access to benefits and manage their utilization. Arguably, those levers could prove to be a more effective mechanism for controlling costs. Four percent (4%) of respondents used limited provider networks, 3% used online visits and just 1% used smaller pharmacy networks. Ninety percent (90%) of organizations do not have a written total rewards or strategic benefits plan with measurable objectives. While many employers have not decided on an optimal healthcare reform and total rewards strategy, 73% would be most likely to manage costs by reducing healthcare benefits instead of freezing compensation. Sixty-three percent (63%) of employers reported that their benefit expenses account for 20% or more of their total compensation spend. Seventy-one percent (71%) of organizations with 1,000 or more full-time employees (FTEs) indicated that benefit expenses represent 20% or more of their total compensation spend. Forty-seven percent (47%) of organizations with less than 100 employees reported that benefit expenses are less than 20% of their total compensation package. communications were the most popular benefits communication method for employers with 100 or more FTEs. Employee group meetings were the preferred tactic among organizations with less than 100 FTEs. Among larger organizations with 1,000 or more FTEs, 59% reported having a dedicated benefits intranet but this figure decreases drastically in proportion to employer size. Only 11% of organizations with less than 100 employees offered this resource. 7

8 Strategic Insight Employers are caught in a crosswind of evolving employee benefit rules, requirements, standards and other challenges that will present economic, social and political concerns for years to come. In this uncertain environment, healthcare reform, rising healthcare costs, employment contracts and the diverse needs and preferences of a multi-generational, multi-cultural workforce can complicate organizational development. Despite the bumpy ride through an unpredictable employee benefits landscape, there s a reliable route to reining in costs and retaining talent. A holistic, innovative, data-driven strategy allows organizations to respond to change with agility, helping them to minimize risk, maximize rewards and drive growth. Although organizations may be aware of the changes that are shaping the future employee benefits market, survey results suggest that many are not yet ready to face the challenges they will bring. Only 31% of respondents have quantified the cost of healthcare reform, and 90% have no written total rewards or strategic benefits plan with measurable objectives. Employers that prepare adequately to adapt to the current reality will optimize their ability to mitigate costs. The universal challenges of healthcare reform, cost containment, workforce diversity, and other human capital issues such as a soft labor market, are outside the control of the organizations they affect. For employers that see the possibilities in taking a new direction, there s a wide-open opportunity to move beyond these barriers. Have quantified the cost of healthcare reform Segmented benefit programs make it difficult to provide resources that are valued across the workforce, and can create roadblocks to a strong employee value proposition. The solution is a total rewards program that considers all major components of employee benefits in alignment with business goals. This is the roadmap to offering top talent the security and value they want and need, and positioning organizations to flexibly respond to marketplace factors, compete successfully and prosper. 31 % YES 47 % NO 22 % UNDECIDED 8

9 STRATEGIC INSIGHT Impact of public exchanges remains to be determined Medical benefits are a priority for almost all employees, so adjusting this benefit cautiously will help employers to keep their talent pool secure, content and productive. While public exchanges have started to make their mark on the healthcare market, organizations are still determined to provide employersubsidized medical benefits. Only 26% of employers know what portion of their workforce may be eligible to purchase subsidized coverage through a public exchange if their plans are unaffordable. However, 98% of companies are committed to providing some form of employee healthcare benefits for the foreseeable future. Although a lack of strategic preparedness is a consistent theme among survey participants, the decision to drop healthcare benefits has barely surfaced. Many employers are unwilling to eliminate employersubsidized medical benefits, yet 73% percent would be more likely to reduce healthcare perks than to decrease or freeze compensation. Most likely choice for managing costs if presented with two options Reducing healthcare benefits 73 % Reducing or freezing compensation 27 % The defined contribution strategy for medical benefits has not yet emerged as a popular choice among employers, as more than 98% still offer one or more employer-subsidized medical plans. Nevertheless, 23% may move to a healthcare defined contribution arrangement within the next three years. Navigating healthcare reform with clear targets, C-suite buy-in and data-driven decisions Healthcare reform has caused turmoil in organizations of all sizes and structures, forcing them to look more closely at their benefits strategy. While only 31% of employers have quantified the cost impact of healthcare reform, 42% expect costs to rise six percent or more as a result. Twenty-six percent (26%) of employers think healthcare reform will increase costs by 10% or more. The expected cost increase is notable, yet the fact that many organizations have not been able to quantify healthcare reform costs raises a significant concern. As mandates continue to be implemented, this knowledge gap will leave many employers unaware of their current position and exposed to substantial risk. Although organizations are starting to realize the value of sound planning, only 10% have a written, strategic benefits plan with measurable objectives. A defined strategy identifies tactics that allow employers to adapt and adjust to a changing benefits environment. 9

10 STRATEGIC INSIGHT Clearly defined targets help to simplify healthcare reform navigation. Audits of dependents, carriers and vendors, along with year-over-year data building, will enable organizations to accurately identify patterns and make the modifications they need to maximize healthcare program performance. Through analytics and a cohesive benefits strategy, employers can stay competitive by efficiently managing their costs and labor force. Adequate budget, time and commitment are integral to a holistic approach. Securing these resources is a priority, and ensuring C-suite buy-in will prove critical when developing or refining the program. Data should drive decisions and priorities should guide where appropriate funds are invested, with adjustments made as needed. Have a written total rewards or strategic benefits plan with measurable objectives 90 % NO While the balancing act is challenging, it s possible for employers to get a firm foothold in a changing healthcare reform landscape. Analytics and C-suite buy-in, combined with a total rewards strategy, will help them mitigate costs and maintain a strong employee value proposition. Attracting and retaining a competitive workforce while controlling benefit costs The top two overall challenges for employers in 2014 are controlling benefit costs and attracting and retaining a competitive workforce. Regardless of tenure, employees seek out the most favorable benefits package, requiring employers to find the happy medium between appealing to their concept of value and mitigating costs. Top five overall challenges 1 Controlling benefit costs 2 Attracting and retaining a competitive workforce 3 Revenue and sales growth 4 Government regulation 5 Maintaining profit margins 10

11 STRATEGIC INSIGHT The needs and preferences of the workforce are growing more diverse, increasing the desire of both employees and their employers for the flexibility to build an individualized benefits package. However, generational, economic and cultural differences create a conundrum for employers that struggle to reconcile rising costs and a demanding talent pool. Current survey results show a commitment to employer-subsidized medical plans, but a persistent need for flexibility may drive more employers to a public or private exchange approach. As unfolding healthcare reform and increasing costs complicate the attraction and retention of key talent, a strategic and informed approach to the development of an affordable employee value proposition will help to solve the puzzle and ensure long-term success. Leveraging technology to communicate Effective communication has always heavily influenced the value that employees place on their benefits. Now that they re responsible for a greater share of the cost and benefit programs have grown more complex, communication and decision support have become even more important. Employers are increasingly turning to technology tools to help accomplish these tasks. Organizations are using online portals, , social media and mobile-enabled communications to connect with their employees through familiar channels. Adoption of decision-support tools, such as online calculators and personal recommendation engines, is on the increase. Employers use these vehicles to: (a) enhance the perceived value of benefits a factor known to drive loyalty and productivity, and (b) empower employees to make sound decisions when they select and manage their benefits. The 2014 survey results show that ranks as the most popular benefits communication method for organizations with 100 or more employees. Online benefit portals are also prevalent (62% offer them), especially among larger employers. Offer online benefits portal for communication In the decision support category, 67% of employers offer online retirement and financial planning tools. Online enrollment for benefits is increasing, with 38% providing this technology. A growing number of employers offer online wellness tools, with 67% providing them now or looking to implement them in the near future. 62 % YES 11

12 STRATEGIC INSIGHT Trends to watch include social media and mobile-enabled benefit communications. Only nine percent (9%) of employers leverage social media now, but 17% say they expect to introduce this channel. Mobileenabled solutions are in place at 12% of organizations, with another 20% planning to introduce them. Employees seek more comprehensive wellness programs Sixty-one percent (61%) of employers have a wellness budget of less than $10,000, and their program participation is also low. Forty percent (40%) of organizations reported that less than half of their eligible workforce participates in any wellness plan component. A lack of benefit resources and insufficient communications informing employees of their options often leads to a subpar wellness participation rate. Employees favor a more expansive wellness plan for themselves and their dependents, but many organizations offer only the basics. Eighty-two percent (82%) of respondents include flu shots as part of their wellness program, but only 27% offer an onsite wellness coordinator or health professional. Thirtytwo percent (32%) of employers provide an onsite fitness center. Employers that offer more than the bare minimum of options can differentiate themselves, and send a message to employees that they re truly committed to wellness. Two vital elements of any wellness program include adequate benefit resources and communicating effectively with employees about their options. Optimal utilization relies not only on expanding features beyond a basic health assessment, but also making employees aware of their choices. Employers must commit to constructing and communicating a comprehensive wellness program that proactively supports the achievement of wellness goals, and showcases an attractive employee value proposition. Future of total absence management The total cost of employee absence is, and will remain, widely distributed across time-off allowances and other benefits that cover vacation, sickness, unpaid leave, work-related and non-work related disabilities, overtime pay, replacement worker costs, PTO buyback, etc. Many employers don t understand their total absence costs, yet they can derive meaningful and actionable insights by quantifying and managing these costs. As they adopt this approach, their focus will shift from overseeing a single line item in the budget to impacting the overall organization. Employees and managers who know the cost of absenteeism, as well as their organizational objectives and how to access available resources, will be equipped to manage absence in a way that supports their employer. In fact, stay-at-work and return-to-work efforts are becoming the norm rather than the exception for both occupational and non-occupational conditions. Organizations will increasingly use external expertise and resources to ensure that legal mandates related to leave and disability are correctly and consistently applied. In addition, they will introduce expanded leave programs, such as a non-job-protected Medical Leave of Absence, to support employees requests for reasonable accommodations under the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA). 12

13 STRATEGIC INSIGHT A centralized, fully integrated absence management program provides employees and their managers with the tools they need to effectively manage their time whether they are at work or off work. With a structured process in place, employees are better able to collaborate with their employer, and in fact, are required to do so. Maintaining an ongoing assessment and discussion of results is critical to the success of this process. The ability to quantify absence data and accurately identify its overall effect on the organization will lead employers to adopt a holistic approach to absence management. Retirement plans continue to shift toward a defined contribution model Organizations throughout the U.S. continue to veer away from the defined benefit model that was a staple of the employee value proposition in previous decades. Substantial risk and cost factors have driven many employers to adopt a defined contribution plan as their retirement offering. Only 24% percent of survey respondents offer a defined benefit plan to their workforce, while 64% offer a 401(k) plan. The 401(k) structure was the top option among organizations in 2014 because it enables them to reduce risk, and at the same time, offers a viable retirement option to their talent pool. Forty percent (40%) decided to use the automatic enrollment feature to ensure that employees take advantage of their defined contribution plan. Seventy percent (70%) chose to match employee contributions to the plan, which shows a firm commitment to investing in employees future security. As defined benefits continue to fade away and the retirement landscape continues to evolve, many employers will confront complex decisions about their outdated plan structures. They will be forfeiting the attractive benefit accruals associated with defined benefit plans, and informing their employees that more of the responsibility for a secure retirement has shifted to them. When employers communicate this adjustment in responsibility, they ll need to educate employees about their new options to make sure it s clear that the organization is still invested in their future. The shift from the defined benefit model to a defined contribution structure has already become the established norm. Even so, when this change is implemented it has to be approached knowledgeably and strategically to ensure a smooth transition while maintaining workforce satisfaction. Voluntary benefits provide flexibility to a diverse workforce A robust voluntary benefits program is becoming more vital to staying competitive as the U.S. workforce continues to represent increasingly diverse needs and interests. Generational and cultural differences, combined with changes in the employer-employee relationship over the years, have created distinct benefit needs and preferences among workforce segments. Competing successfully for talent requires employers to adapt to the unique expectations of employees by providing cost-effective yet flexible benefits. However, the separation in the employee benefits value chain 13

14 STRATEGIC INSIGHT poses a challenge in developing a program that recognizes all viewpoints. For example, tuition assistance, offered by 48% of organizations, may appeal to up-and-coming talent but it typically provides little value to tenured employees in the second half of their career. Employers can also run into issues in delivering favorable benefits. Employees are often interested in long-term care, yet 82% of employers don t offer this benefit. A lack of carrier commitment and product availability has frustrated organizations, causing them to abandon an option that many employees might welcome. An outcome like this may not only leave employees wanting and seeking greater benefits value, but also can raise the ultimate question of where they may find it. There are always strategies to improve structural inefficiencies in an employee benefits package, and the right voluntary benefits can strengthen this offering. Employers also need to thoroughly educate employees about their current benefits package so they fully realize what their value proposition is worth. Effectively communicating the availability and flexibility of voluntary benefits will be a key factor in attracting and retaining a workforce that drives growth and prosperity. Top five human resources challenges 1 Controlling healthcare expenses 2 Keeping up-to-date on healthcare reform and other regulations 3 Increasing employee job satisfaction 4 Compensation expenses 5 Retaining employees 14

15 STRATEGIC INSIGHT Top priority for 2014* Reduce or contain medical spend 42 % Healthcare reform Promote healthy consumer behavior toward healthcare Healthy work environment Work-life balance Quality focus 18 % 16 % 13 % 8 % 3 % Incentives 1 % *Due to rounding, percentages do not total 100%. Total annual benefit cost per eligible employee* Under $5, % 45 % $5,000 to $9,999 $10,000 to $14,999 $15,000 to $19,999 $20, % 8 % 24 % *Due to rounding, percentages do not total 100%. 15

16 Medical Survey respondents ranked controlling benefit costs as the largest overall challenge, and identified controlling healthcare expenses as the top human resources challenge. Together, these issues underscore a common and pressing need for organizations of all sizes and structures to contain medical costs. Almost all employers are subsidizing the plans they offer to employees for the time being (98%), but rising costs present obstacles. How medical benefits are currently handled Provide one or more employee health plan(s) 98 % Provide money that employees can use to purchase their own medical plan coverage (defined contribution arrangement) Do not offer medical benefits 1 % 1 % For 62% of employers, premiums increased at least four percent at their last renewal, and 25% have seen premiums increase 10% or more. Most offer one or two medical plans to their workforce and 80% reported a PPO offering. The PPO was the highest enrolled plan (60%) and the fully insured funding arrangement has proven to be the most popular (56%). 16

17 MEDICAL Percentage of increase in the health plan premium at the most recent renewal* Decreased 9 % 17 % Increase of 0 1.9% Increase of 2 3.9% Increase of 4 5.9% Increase of 6 7.9% Increase of 8 9.9% Increase of % Increase of 12% or more 11 % 13 % 12 % 12 % 7 % 18 % *Due to rounding, percentages do not total 100%. The defined contribution model for medical has been adopted by a small portion of respondents (1%), but this number is expected to rise as more organizations try to contain their medical costs. Employers that have switched to a defined contribution structure noted cost and employee choice as driving factors in their decision. Fiftytwo percent (52%) of organizations that made the transition decided to provide a set amount per employee, while 43% based their contribution decision on the plan tier. While 23% of organizations show interest in the defined contribution model and are considering a move within the next three years, many would prefer to follow suit rather than being the first in their area or sector to commit. May move to a defined contribution healthcare arrangement in the next three years 23 % YES Employers are still dedicated to providing some form of healthcare benefits to employees (98%), and eligible employees continue to use employer medical plans when they re available. 17

18 MEDICAL Seventy-eight percent (78%) of organizations reported that at least 70% of their eligible workforce is enrolled. While employees are taking advantage of the employer-subsidized benefit, the cost structure is rapidly adjusting. As premiums increase and containing medical costs becomes harder, the cost liability of plans will continue to shift toward the employee. If this option does not effectively contain costs, employers may gravitate to the defined contribution model. Committed to providing some form of employee healthcare benefits for the foreseeable future 98 % YES Most organizations require their employees to contribute to an individual plan (77%) and the median employee contribution percentage was identified as 20%. Annual deductibles for employee-only coverage ranged from an innetwork median of $1,000 to an out-of-network median of $1,500. An increase in employee contributions was the most popular strategy to contain healthcare costs in the 2014 plan year, while the increase of deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums were identified as the second and third most common adjustments. High-deductible health plans (HDHPs) are currently offered by 33% of respondents and 14% of organizations reported this option as their highest enrolled plan. This plan type received the third highest enrollment statistics overall after preferred provider organization (PPO) and health maintenance organization (HMO) structures. Spending account(s) offered Healthcare Flexible Spending Account 68 % Health Savings Account Health Reimbursement Arrangement 36 % 17 % 18

19 MEDICAL Organizations often make a Health Saving Account (HSA) available to enrollees in their HDHP, and 33% of employers reported that more than half of their eligible labor force uses this component. Twenty-six percent (26%) of organizations contribute to the HSA on behalf of their employees and the median of the annual average employer contribution was reported as $1,000. Prescription coverage is offered by 96% of participating organizations and 89% of those identified this component as part of the health plan. The remaining 11% of employers that offer the feature have it carved out from their medical coverage. Copayments are included in 71% of plans, while 20% include both copayment and coinsurance features. The median for generic retail copayments was identified as $10, while the median mail order generic copayment (90-day supply) was indicated as $20. Continually rising premiums, the development of public and private exchanges, and the implementation of healthcare reform mandates continue to challenge organizations of all sizes and structures. So far, employers are continuing to show their commitment to the health of their workforce, but the deterrents are significant and will have a substantial impact on the future market. Employers that set clear healthcare goals, and stay agile and innovative in achieving them, will be in the best position to preserve their medical benefits while continuing to contain costs. 19

20 Wellness Employers are placing a high priority on their total healthcare spend in 2014, and more of them are gravitating toward wellness. One of the biggest trends seen in the industry is a simple equation: resources + communication = satisfied, engaged employees. Employees may have many benefits at their disposal, including wellness options, but these resources often go unnoticed or are undervalued if they re not promoted adequately. Creating new methods and opportunities to communicate with diverse workforce segments helps to capture employees interest and motivate their involvement in benefits. Organizations that connect in the most relevant way with their employees can strengthen the employee value proposition without increasing costs. Seventy-three percent (73%) of survey respondents indicated their greatest wellness challenge was participation, yet many employers are restricting employees options to programs such as health assessments and biometric screenings. In today s world, employees are looking for more than just traditional wellness opportunities they want wellness options that are meaningful specifically to them and their families. Taking a personalized approach to wellness offerings will increase participation. For employees, this tactic will also shift the focus of the workplace conversation from what the employer wants to what is truly valuable to them. Have a wellness program Top five challenges related to wellness planning Participation Cultural shift and reluctance to change Budget 44 % YES Geography and/or multiple locations ROI or productivity measurement 20

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