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US: Small Businesses Keeping Pace with Large Employer Health Benefits

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US-based employee benefits consultants United Benefit Advisors (UBA) in August 2017 published a report revealing that, contrary to common belief, small businesses are keeping pace with large employers when it comes to offering health benefits to their employees.

The report, “Small Business Health Care: How Employees Are Faring,” outlines how employees across all plan types pay an average of $3,378 toward annual health insurance benefits, with their employer picking up the rest of the total cost of $9,727. Among small groups, employees pay $3,557, with their employer picking up the balance of $9,474 – only a 5.3 percent difference.

UBA’s data shows that small businesses actually cut a better deal even when compared to their larger counterparts. For example, the average annual cost per employee for all plans is $9,727, but for small groups with 25 to 49 employees, the average cost per employee is only $9,165.

The Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees (PACE) act and other relief measures, such as grand-mothering, have helped small groups stay in pre-ACA plans at better rates, according to Peter Weber, President of UBA. Weber pointed out that employers with 500 to 1,000 or more employees may offer better coverage with lower co-pays, deductibles, and in-network out-of-pocket maximums and monthly premiums, but small employers have more to offer in terms of wages and flexibility.

The report recommends small employers should benchmark their plans against their same-size peers and communicate how competitive their plans are relative to national averages.

The full report, available in PDF format and accessible here, contains more detailed information, including charts that detail plan costs comparing small to large businesses across the U.S.

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