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Sixteenth Keenan Health Care Benefits Strategy Survey Covers Trends, Challenges and Best Practices from 235 Healthcare Organizations

June 28, 2018

TORRANCE, Calif. – Keenan, an industry-leading California insurance brokerage and consulting firm for health care organizations and public agencies, has released the findings of its 2018 Health Care Benefits Strategy Survey. This annual survey, now in its sixteenth year, has become important benchmark research for the health care industry in California, with implications for the sector nationwide.

The most comprehensive survey of its kind, it provides health care organizations with in-depth, industry-specific information to assist in their 2019-20 benefit program planning based on programs currently in place, the challenges these organizations face, and strategies they anticipate implementing. Seventy-seven California health care organizations, representing 235 facilities, participated in this year’s survey.

“Arming health care organizations with the data that we compile in this survey is critical to helping them maintain benefits programs that are both fiscally responsible for their organizations as well as high-value for their employees,” said Steve Richter, Senior Vice President, Keenan HealthCare. “We have been able to amass incredibly valuable data over the past 16 years that we have conducted this survey, which enables health care organizations to develop effective benefits programs in an environment of tremendous cost pressures and a tight clinical workforce.”

Detailed information on medical benefit programs includes key objectives, plan design, workforce health management, product mix, financing, cost management, talent recruitment and network strategies.

Key findings include:

  • California hospitals, on average, experienced a moderate increase of 5% in per-employee medical benefits cost (hospitals participating in both the 2017 and 2018 surveys).
  • Annual medical benefits cost per covered employee in 2018 is $14,088, with health care organizations bearing most of the cost burden and paying 91% of the annual cost of employee-only coverage for their most popular plan (50% are offering at least one medical plan at no cost to the employee).
  • The top four benefit program objectives identified by survey participants are managing costs, improving workforce health, increasing use of their own facilities and increasing the competitiveness of their benefits package.
  • Anticipated cost reduction approaches include managing eligibility (especially for dependents), increasing the cost for covering dependents, controlling prescription benefit costs, and channeling care to their own facilities and affiliated physicians or direct contracts with providers for lower costs.
  • In the area of prescription drug cost management, there has been a significant shift toward a four-tier copay structure between 2016 to 2018.
  • Workforce health management, the second most important objective after cost management, is becoming more encompassing, including physical, mental, financial, and social well- being.

The study also includes a detailed look at other benefit categories including time off, disability, dental, life and retirement income. Data are broken out by region: Southern California (except San Diego), San Diego, Sacramento and Central Valley, San Francisco Bay, and Northern California (other).

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About Keenan
Keenan has a 45-year track record of serving California schools, community colleges, health care organizations and public agencies. Keenan is part of the AssuredPartners group of independent brokers, currently ranked as the 13 th largest U.S. brokerage. Keenan serves as AP’s California hub to expand its innovative employee benefits, health benefit management services, workers’ compensation, risk management, and property and liability programs throughout the country. Keenan has a staff of more than 725 insurance specialists with local offices in Torrance, Riverside, San Clemente, Oakland, San Jose, Rancho Cordova, Redwood City, Pleasanton and Eureka. For more information, call 800-654-8102 or 310-212-3344, email or visit