Budgets for pay raises at U.S. employers have picked up from all-time lows, going from an average (mean) of 2.2 percent in 2009 to 2.9 percent in 2013, according to the 40th annual WorldatWork 2013-2014 Salary Budget Survey. U.S. salary budgets have averaged 2.8 percent for the past two years.
As more American employers turn to high-deductible health plans to reign in escalating health care expenses, many are offering health savings accounts (HSAs) in an effort to encourage workers to make cost-conscious health care decisions. But according to a recent survey by financial services firm Fidelity Investments, two-thirds (65 percent) of Americans who make household health-benefit decisions simply do not understand how an HSA works.
As more baby boomers approach age 65, they are confronting the complexities of making first-time Medicare enrollment decisions.
“At many companies, retiring used to mean transitioning from your employer’s health plan to a retiree health plan,” said Paula Muschler, manager of the Allsup Medicare Advisor. “Now, rather than selecting from one or two employer-provided options, more individuals are faced with trying to navigate through dozens of different Medicare plan options,” Muschler said in a media release.
On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court, in United States v. Windsor, found unconstitutional Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which had prohibited the federal government from acknowledging marriages between same-sex couples. Same-sex marriages were recognized as legal by 12 states and the District of Columbia at the time of the ruling.
Consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs), designed to encourage employees to make more cost- and health-conscious decisions, have been shown to reduce the long-term use of outpatient physician visits and prescription drugs, according to new research by the nonprofit Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). Although that may save the consumer and the health plan sponsor money in the short-run, skipping preventative services can lead to more expensive treatments, including high-cost emergency room services, for many conditions.
A majority of U.S. employers (71%) spent 16% or more of their total health care budget on pharmacy benefits, according to a nationwide survey by Buck Consultants.
More than 250 organizations participated in the firm’s latest Prescription Drug Benefit Survey, representing a broad range of industries and more than 3.9 million covered individuals. The survey was fielded in the first quarter of 2013.
How much credit should be given to the co-op business model for the success of the independent hardware and building supply dealer over the last half century?