What You Should Know About Health-Care Spending in the U.S.


Despite a slowdown in the growth rate of overall national health expenditures, Americans are seeing more of their paychecks go to health-care costs.

The increase is largely thanks to cost-shifting through higher deductibles in plans offered by employers, which cover the majority of workers and their families. The trend has hit middle-income households the hardest. Here are five things to know about trends in U.S. health-care spending.

The Big Picture

Growth in health-care spending has slowed since the recession and the passage of theAffordable Care Act. It was down to 5.5% annual growth in 2015, from an average of nearly 8% in the two decades preceding the recession, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Some of the recent slowdown is cyclical. Many of the millions of people laid off during the recession lost access to employer-provided health insurance, and broad-based belt-tightening also forced cutbacks in health spending. But as the economy grows and earnings rise, spending on health care is expected to re-accelerate, reaching a 6% annual average growth rate between 2020 and 2025, according to CMS projections. The pickup in spending would be in large part due to America’s aging population, although other trends, such as reforms to Medicare reimbursement and “spillover effects” in the private market, will help counter some of the increase.

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Topics: american health care, health insurance, healthcare, HR, hrbenefits, insurance broker, rising costs in insurance

Healthcare in America is extremely overpriced & these 11 charts prove it.

I would not want to be caught on the wrong end of the bill.

Ask any U.S. healthcare expert and they will tell you, today’s healthcare costs are increasing in at an alarming rate. Compared to the rest of world, the costs for healthcare in America are as comparable as the price to filet mignon to a happy meal. Why is that? Why was I forced to pay such a high bill after going in for a simple, 45-minute procedure? Why did one stitch on my finger result in a bill a week later for $13,000? Thankfully I was covered and don’t have a deductible, but most people do have deductibles and we all feel the effects of these charges in the rising amounts we pay out of our paychecks for insurance coverage.

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Topics: american health care, american healthcare, Ashton Benefits, cost-effective insurance, health care, health insurance, healthcare, high deductible, HR, hris, IFHP, insurance, insurance broker, overpriced health care, overpriced healthcare, procedure costs

7 tips to better recruit & engage millennials

Employers juggling multiple generations of workers face special challenges. But as the retiring baby boomers open up new opportunities for others, employers face another new challenge – recruiting and engaging the millennials. Experts at Colonial Life’s Small Business Hub offer these seven tips to bring more awareness in onboarding a new generation of professionals.

1. Position inspirational leaders at the forefront

Millennials are looking for employers that have strong leadership on top. According to a recent Deloitte study, more millennials were likely to characterize “true leaders” as those with strategic thinking and people with the ability to inspire others. Be sure to keep those at the forefront.

2. Encourage innovation

Millennials are a generation well familiar with cell phones, high-speed internet and ever-changing technologies. A PwC survey showed 59% of millennials believe having the latest technology at a job is critical when looking for an employer.

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Topics: HR, Millennials, Recruiting

The Four HR Portal “Must Haves”


How much time do you spend managing your company’s employee benefits?  Imagine an HR System where everything you need is at your fingertips in one beautiful dashboard. But the system is also robust, able to handle complex plan designs and rate structures.  HR Systems are changing the way companies work.

When vetting a new HR Portal there are four main features we consider “Must Haves.”  Check them out below or download our free E-Book, “Reinventing the Enrollment Experience”

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Topics: benefits technology, employee benefits, HR, HR Portal, hris

Comply with the ACA’s Employer Shared Responsibility Rules

Is your business prepared to handle the Affordable Care Act’s biggest requirement for business’?

The employer shared responsibility provision went into effect this 2015 calendar year. Constant coordination and communication between HR managers and payroll is needed in order to ensure accuracy in reporting requirements and payroll data.Here are five ways to ensure accuracy in order to avoid penalties:

  1. Keep track of reporting time periods
    • Choose a look-back period of three months to one year
  1. Coordinate with HR for accurate reporting
    • Complete Forms 1094C and 1095C for end of the year reporting for the 2015 tax year. Get information for employer status, coverage affordability, and eligible employees.
  2. Provide correct information for hours worked
    • Employee service hours are used to determine the full time status for the stability period, and ensure data provided covers the time period. Determine employer status and full time employees. Take note of personnel changes that affect employee’s full time status.
  3. Offer the right health care coverage
    • Make sure affordable coverage is offered to full time employees and dependents in order to avoid penalties.
  4. Determine affordability
    • Affordable health care under employer shared responsibility is coverage that does not cost over 9.5% of employee’s annual household income. Determine affordability through Form W-2, employee salary, or hourly rate information.


With Ashton Benefits’ free online platform, gathering accurate data for reporting requirements can be made easy. Ashton clients receive our system that tracks the correct information. Manually tracking information about your employees without it would be a nightmare. Your company can easily access and update data from your payroll, health insurance, and HR systems all online, in one place. Ashton Benefits is here to help you to remain compliant.

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Topics: aca, aca compliance, employer shared responsibility, healthcare reform, HR, hris, payroll, Technology