What are top-performing companies doing – or not doing – to achieve lower-than-average cost increases in employee health benefits? How does Michigan compare to national benchmarks? What benefits strategies are employers using to compete for and retain talent? Answers to these questions, data for decision-making, and more are gathered in the annual MMA Michigan Mid-Market Group Benefit Survey.

Why an annual survey?

  • Michigan is a unique environment when it comes to benefit plans – national data does not always reflect the trends in this region.
  • National data is typically a year out of date when it is released.
  • Employers can use survey data to determine where they relative to the market.
  • Timing is important — our survey analysis is released just before most organizations start planning for the following year.
  • MMA Michigan has the flexibility to ask about the issues that are important to Michigan employers.

What is benchmarked?

  • The usage trend and cost impact of health care benefit strategies, such as higher deductibles, tiered co-pays, Wellbeing practices, and Account Based Health Plans (ABHPs).
  • Expanded in 2017: Voluntary and work-site benefits; benefit administration practices; absence management processes.
  • TrendBendersTM – high-performing trend-setting organizations that have successfully kept average cost increases low over the past two years – are identified and their plan design strategies shared.

MMA Michigan 2017 Survey

Data gathering for the 2017 MMA Michigan Mid-Market Group Benefits Survey begins January 3, 2017  and concludes on March 3, 2017. To learn more about and to participate in this landmark survey, please contact Mitsy Morris at (248) 822-6240, Bill Riegner at (248) 633-7227 or Linda Vance at (248) 822-6273.

Some of the 2016 Survey results:

  • Employer health care costs after plan changes increased by an average of 3% for employers in the survey, on par with previous year’s results and in line with national trend.
  • The median deductible for PPO plans, the most popular plan design chosen by employees, has increased to $600 from $500 for single coverage and $1200 from $1000 for family coverage. This benchmark last changed in 2010.
  • While PPO plans dominate enrollment, Account-Based Health Plan (ABHP) offerings and enrollment is growing steadily. More employers (47% in 2016) are offering ABHPs as an option or the only plan choice, compared to 43% in 2015.
  • Employers are increasingly incorporating a deductible into their HMO plan: 78% in 2016 compared to 68% in 2015 and 57% in 2014. This is more than double national trend.
  • Employers are expanding the reach of their wellness services: 32% of participating organizations that offer a wellness program also extend the program to benefits-eligible employees’ spouses. Another 14% offer to enrolled employees and their spouses.
  • Thirty-eight percent of Southeast Michigan employers now include telemedicine as a care provider option, a significant increase from 20% in 2015 and only 4% in 2014.
  • Michigan remains ahead of national trend in instituting pharmacy cost management strategies such as step therapy and mandatory generic use. Fifty-three percent of participating employers have a mandatory generic policy for prescription drug coverage, while only 32% of employers nationally do so.
  • Usage of health advocacy programs remains steady: 27% of survey participants offer this service, compared to 14% in 2014. Health advocacy programs assist employees with claims questions, coordination of care, and navigating the health care systems.
  • Offering voluntary benefits is a cost-effective method for employers looking to round out their benefits programs. For example, 59% of Michigan employers offer Accident Coverage.




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