Segal’s 2011 Study of State Employee Health Benefits Points to Need for Evaluating and Changing Plan Design
Mary L. Feldman
Senior Vice President, Public Affairs
NEW YORK (6/5/12) – The Segal Company has released a summary report of results from Segal’s 2011 Study of State Employee Health Benefits. The 2011 Study, drawn from Segal’s database of state employee plan research, finds significant continuity in the benefit plan types and features offered by states to their employees and retirees. Segal has been conducting similar studies and surveys of state employee health plans for more than 35 years.
According to Rick Johnson, SVP and National Public Sector Health Practice Leader, “States are interested in how peer jurisdictions structure employee health coverage. The interest is particularly acute among states that are grappling with continuing budget shortfalls. In addition, many local jurisdictions are interested in how states design employee health coverage as models for their own programs. Many public sector plan sponsors are currently re-assessing their plan offerings – they should examine the Study to determine where their plan stands.”
Elliot Susseles, SVP and head of Segal’s Public Sector Compensation and Bargaining Practice, which compiled the data for this study based on information available on state websites, added: “Segal’s 2011 Study is the latest chapter in our decades-long effort to examine changes in plan offerings. The study report includes just some of the proprietary information in our extensive database – the data we’ve collected can provide clients with the ability to compare changes in their plan designs to changes in the marketplace over time.”
Segal believes the 2011 Study points public sector health plan sponsors in the direction of addressing their current challenges by evaluating and implementing plan redesign. Segal suggests the following options:
- Adding new case-management services that improve patient-discharge planning to reduce hospital readmission rates,
- Improving medication-adherence programs that keep employees on the most cost-effective drug therapies to help avoid complications from disease,
- Conducting dependent eligibility audits and revising enrollment processes to allow only qualified dependents into the plans,
- Renegotiating and bidding vendor contracts to obtain the most up-to-date market pricing and discounts,
- Auditing plan administrators for self-insured programs to identify processing and overpayment issues,
- Reviewing contribution strategies and varying contribution rates based on participation in healthy lifestyle programs (e.g., different rates for smokers and non-smokers), preferred plans or targeted wellness programs,
- Targeting wellness and disease management programs that are meaningful and highly engaging for employees and that help address the primary cost drivers, and
- Educating participants about how to make wise and healthy choices.
The full report is available here.
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The Segal Company (www.segalco.com) has been a leading, independent firm of benefit, compensation and human resources consultants since its founding in 1939. Segal is headquartered in New York and has nearly 1,000 employees throughout the U.S. and in Canada. Clients include state and local governments, corporations, non-profit organizations, professional service firms and joint boards of trustees administering pension and health and welfare plans under the Taft-Hartley Act.