Aging workforce, delayed retirement fueling increases in costs of group benefits

Specialty medication to treat rheumatoid arthritis tops out the most costly medication for the third year in a row

TORONTO, March 25, 2015 /CNW/ - Accompass, an independent benefits, investment, and compensation firm, has published the 2015 Guide to Health and Dental Trends, an annual survey of group insurers capturing their trend factors used to influence employers' benefit plan renewal rates. 

According to The Guide, this year insurers on average, have indicated an overall health trend factor of 11.59%, which is consistent with the 11.5% - 12% range seen over the past four years. "Every year since 2012 more than half of the carriers reported the same trend factor of 11.5%," said Christopher Lee, Vice President Marketing and Communications at Accompass. "This suggests a level of consensus and a conservative approach to forecasting the costs of group health care."

Does this mean that employee benefit plan administrators will need to factor in this level of cost inflation into their own plans? "Although it appears that carriers are in agreement about the nature of rising costs of group health, our experience with our own block of business has seen renewal rates that are substantially lower than these trend factors," said Accompass President Sarah Beech. "Our clients have done a great job communicating with their employees about smart ways to manage their health, and many are using services such as a preferred pharmacy as a strategy to manage costs."

One of the factors that is driving the insurers' trend factor up is the usage of costly specialty medication. Biologic drugs being used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, such as Remicade and Humira, are among the highest costing drugs to group plans. "When you factor in an aging workforce and more people delaying retirement, it potentially starts to paint a challenging picture for plan sponsors who are not being proactive with their plans," added Lee.

The Guide can be downloaded from the Accompass website at accompass.com 

ABOUT ACCOMPASS

Accompass is an independent benefits, investment, and compensation firm that designs and manages client programs from the biggest picture to the smallest detail. Since it was founded as Pal Benefits in 1997, the company has taken a hands-on, personal and proactive approach to its clients and their businesses. Accompass is proud to be considered an extension of many of North America's most respected corporate teams. For more information, visit accompass.com.

SOURCE Accompass

Image with caption: "Accompass, a leading benefits, investment and compensation firm. (CNW Group/Accompass)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150325_C4007_PHOTO_EN_13574.jpg

For further information: Media contact: Chris Lee, Vice President, T 416 969 8588, C 647 281 9277, clee@accompass.com

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