Survey: PPO Deductibles Increase Fifty Percent in 2016, Employer Costs Remain Steady

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The 2016 UBA Health Plan Survey results show employees are taking on more cost for lower coverage. Hierl Insurance is hosting an upcoming benchmark webinar providing insight to the 2016 results.

The median in-network deductible on an employer-sponsored PPO health plan increased 50 percent, from $1,000 to $1,500 in 2016, yet employer costs remain steady, according to the newly released 2016 Health Plan Survey from United Benefit Advisors (UBA), the nation’s largest independent survey of employer-sponsored benefits. Despite these significant deductible increases, nearly half of all employees continue to enroll in PPO plans, finds UBA.

The survey shows that average health plan costs for employers actually decreased slightly from $9,736 in 2015 to $9,727 in 2016 while the employees’ share increased as they continue to accept lower coverage levels. Of the $9,727, employees contributed an average of $3,378 and employers contributed on average $6,350, whereas in 2015, employers paid $6,403 of the $9,736 average overall cost, while employees paid $3,333.

“Overall, employer costs remained consistent because they are passing more and more of their increases on to employees – a trend we expect to see more of in the future,” says Les McPhearson, CEO of UBA. “Employers simply cannot continue to absorb unsustainable increases in health care costs. Unfortunately, neither can employees.”


UBA finds that total monthly premiums, combined for all types of plans, remained flat at $509 for a single. However, employers shifted costs to employees in other ways, including median out-of-network deductibles, which jumped from $3,000 to $3,400 this year (a 13.3 percent increase) and median ER copays increased from $250 to $300 (20.0 percent).

The employees’ share of monthly premiums increased only slightly from $140 in 2015 to $144 (2.6 percent), and family portions went from $540 in 2015 to $552 in 2016 (2.2 percent).

UBA also finds that families are again bearing the brunt of the cost of health insurance. For an employee electing single coverage, the employer covers 71 percent of the monthly premium, and only 54 percent of a family premium.

“The deductible increases are mostly due to two factors: First, by raising the deductible $500, you avoid a premium increase of roughly 3 percent to 6 percent. The second factor is the result of insurance carriers being forced to comply with ‘metal’ levels (platinum, gold, silver, bronze) in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) small group market,” says Carol Taylor, Director of Compliance & Health Plan Collaborative with D&S Agency, a UBA Partner Firm based in Roanoke, VA. “As long as insurance carriers are required to meet the ACA metal levels, we can expect to see plan changes in this same direction.”

UBA’s 2016 Health Plan Survey Executive Summary will be available to the public in late September. Pre-order now at Media may request a preliminary copy of results from representative of Hierl Insurance.

The 2016 UBA Health Plan Survey contains the validated responses of 19,557 health plans and 11,524 employers, who cumulatively employ over two and a half million employees and insure more than five million total lives. While other surveys primarily target large employers, the focus of the UBA survey is to report results that are applicable to the small and mid-size companies that represent the overwhelming majority of the nation’s employers, while also including a mix of large companies in rough proportion to their actual prevalence, nationally. This is an important distinction compared to other national surveys.

Contact us at 920-921-5921 for a customized benchmark survey based on industry, region and business size.

United Benefit Advisors® (UBA) is the nation’s leading independent employee benefits advisory organization with more than 200 offices throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. UBA empowers more than 2,000 Partners to both maintain their individuality and pool their expertise, insight, and market presence to provide best-in-class services and solutions. Employers, advisors and industry-related organizations interested in obtaining powerful results from the shared wisdom of our Partners should visit

About Hierl Insurance
Locally owned since 1919, Hierl Insurance has earned the trust of more than 250 Wisconsin employers by using insight and innovative technology to create unique strategies that protect business owners, their employees and their budgets, ultimately having a positive effect on clients. Hierl defines this in one simple phrase: “Strength. Heart. Results.” Strength represents Hierl’s dedication to their clients. Heart is the passion Hierl has for people. Results Is what Hierl delivers. Visit us at or call us at 920.921.5921.

Upcoming webinars on the UBA Benchmark for 2016
During this Hierl60 webinar Scott Smeaton, CRM, CIC and Tonya Bahr, SPHR, SCP will be sharing insights into the 2016 UBA Benchmark Survey results, including how the top performing companies use this data to curb healthcare costs, specific survey results you can use right away, and emerging trends in health plans as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
Seminar dates: September 21, at 12 noon and September 27 at 12 noon. These webinars are free, call 920.921.5921 to register.

Scott Smeaton
Executive Vice President
Hierl Insurance

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