Michigan Employers Save Health Insurance Costs By Managing Eligibility

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McGraw Wentworth, Michigan's largest employee group benefit brokerage/consulting firm, released the results of its 2008 Southeast Michigan Mid-Market Group Benefits Survey. The 2008 Mid-Market Group Benefit Survey compares health benefits and trends among 376 Southeast Michigan-based organizations with 100-10,000 employees. Highlights of the survey results show that health care costs for Michigan employers are increasing at an average rate of 7% in 2008 over 2007. But some Michigan companies --- called TrendBenders--- are keeping their benefit cost increases to two percent or less by implementing cost-sharing and -saving measures such as increased deductibles and co-pays; eligibility management strategies including eligibility audits and spousal surcharges; and wellness initiatives including health risk appraisals and surcharges for smokers.

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"TrendBenders are the high-performing organizations that are proactively managing their employee benefits and for 2007-2008 achieved an average annual increase of two percent or less," said Rebecca McLaughlan, managing director, McGraw Wentworth. "TrendBenders are in the top quartile of the survey participants. They tend to have higher deductibles and co-pays, a higher rate of employees selecting consumer driven health plans, and an emphasis on wellness."

When asked to rank their cost control strategies, TrendBenders

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