Iowa employers to pay more for health insurance rate increases, but won’t stop

Companies may be paying a great deal more, but they are still offering these benefits to their workers.

Iowa employers who offer medical coverage as a part of their employee benefits will be facing far higher health insurance rate increases. That said, those companies are not dropping the benefit and are continuing to cover their teams of workers.

The average Iowan employer will see health insurance benefits premiums rising by 8.4 percent.

This figure was compiled by a survey conducted by consultant David P. Lind. They found that employers with fewer than 50 workers will be facing average increases of over 12 percent. Companies of that size are not legally required to offer health insurance coverage. The rule that applies to larger businesses does not apply to them.

However, among the 1,001 Iowa employers that took part in the annual survey, not one said they had – or intended to – stop offering medical coverage as a part of their worker benefits. On the whole 88 percent of companies in Iowa with employees were offering health plans among their benefits.

Employers consider the health insurance rate increases a cost of keeping the best team members.

In the current economy, companies are required to offer appealing compensation and benefits to employees. If they don’t, they risk losing their best workers to other companies willing to pay or offer more. Top talent can currently usually find an employer that will provide them with an employer-based health plan.

“Employers realize that when the unemployment rate is down, they really have to find ways to attract and retain employees. That’s a huge, huge factor,” said Lind, who hired the professional survey company to conduct his annual research.

Kaiser Family Foundation data shows that across Iowa, only about 6 percent of adults purchase their coverage outside employers-sponsored plans or government health care programs. On the other hand, about 54 percent of state residents receive their health plan coverage through their employer. The majority of the remainder of people in the state receive coverage through Medicare, Medicaid or another government program.

Employers in Iowa are accustomed to the health insurance rate increases. Moreover, those price hikes are often not small. The average increase in 2017 was 8.4 percent. That isn’t unlike the trend that has continued there since 2012.

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