County Health Benefits 2014

Source: Emilia Istrate, Kirk Heffelmire, Molly Longstreth National Association of Counties (NACo), NACo Trends Analysis Paper Series, Issue 2, 2014

From the press release:
America’s counties spend an estimated $20-24 billion on health insurance premiums each year, according to a new study by the National Association of Counties (NACo), covering an estimated 2.5 million county employees and nearly 2.4 million dependents. The report – County Health Benefits 2014 – is based on a survey of nearly 1,000 counties conducted in March 2014 compared with a survey of the same counties in April 2009.
An analysis of survey results reveals:
• County health benefit eligibility for employees and dependents and county spending on health insurance increased significantly over the last five years.
o Between 2009 and 2014, average monthly premiums for county health plans increased by 20 percent.
o Counties offering coverage to all of their part-time employees doubled (from eight to 16 percent).
• Counties are working with their employees to contain health care costs, by continuing to share premium costs or increasing the deductible amounts, copayments or out-of-pockets limits.
• Counties are still grappling with the uncertain effects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
o While 34 percent of counties mentioned increased costs associated with ACA implementation, 35 percent reported no ACA impact.
o The complexity of the ACA statute was the most commonly cited barrier to implementing federal health care reform.
• Most counties offer some type of wellness program, at a higher rate than in 2009.
o The number of counties offering wellness programs jumped from 59 percent in 2009 to more than 80 percent this year.
• Counties are far more likely than other employers to offer retiree health benefits.