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8th Annual Arizona Employee Benefits Benchmarking Results

8th Annual Arizona Employee Benefits Benchmarking Survey —

Data, Trends & Strategies to Control Costs and

Attract & Retain Employees; Impact of COVID-19 on Costs 


Keynote Speaker Meagan Johnson Shares Knowledge on How to Deal with Multi-Generational Workforces in Post-COVID World


Scottsdale, AZ, June 16, 2021 – The results of the 8th annual Arizona Employee Benefits Benchmarking Survey of mid-size employers (50-5,000 employees), presented today in a Virtual Event, showed that:

  • 45 percent of health insurance plans offered by Arizona employers surveyed were lower-cost consumer-driven plans; 51 percent were traditional copay type plans.
  • In Arizona, the median deductible for traditional copay plans has doubled in four years, from $1,500 in 2017 to $3,000 today.
  • Median deductible for consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs) in Arizona has remained flat at $3,000 since 2017.
  • Median premiums paid by employers and employees in Arizona are significantly lower than national medians.
  • Healthcare inflation for employee health insurance remained relatively steady in Arizona. After plan design changes, the median cost increase reported by employers for 2021 was 4 percent, compared to 5 percent in 2020.

This benchmarking survey, conducted by Benefit Commerce Group, a Scottsdale-based employee benefits firm, is in its eighth year of data collection. The survey was developed and tabulated by one of the world’s largest and most respected actuarial firms and is in its 19th year nationally.

“In these eight years, over 1,100 Arizona employers have participated in this survey,” said Scott Wood, Managing Partner & Principal of Benefit Commerce Group, which hosted the Employee Benefits Benchmarking Results Virtual Event. “We are gratified that over 330 employers in Arizona have participated in the benchmarking survey so far this year. This is an excellent showing, especially with all of the competing priorities for business leaders and HR professionals during the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic this year. Over 220 people registered for our Virtual Event, including HR professionals, CFOs and CEOs who are focused on controlling their healthcare costs and strengthening their benefits programs to attract and retain employees.”

Employers who participated in the benchmarking survey will receive individual custom report summaries. They also have the opportunity to access more detailed benchmarking, including data that compares their employee benefits programs to other employers in Arizona and nationally by company size, industry type and geography.

Arizona employers can continue to participate in this survey by visiting the Benefit Commerce Group website page.

COVID-19 Impact on Healthcare Costs

The impact of COVID-19 on healthcare costs and health plan premiums also was discussed during the event, including:

  • The national cost for healthcare for a family of four decreased 3.3% in 2020, due to deferred care.
  • Deferred care during the pandemic was greater than the cost of COVID treatment.
  • Deferred care returned at the end of 2020 and well into 2021.
  • As a result, 2021 costs are higher than expected.
  • Going forward, premium renewals may be slightly higher for 2022 due to the lingering impact on health.
    • People with underlying health conditions had a higher percentage of COVID-19 claims.
    • These same people are expected to have ongoing higher costs for treatment of underlying conditions than pre-COVID.

Hybrid Work and Using Employee Benefits to Attract and Retain Employees

“We also discussed at our Virtual Event the ‘elephant in the room,’ hybrid work,” Wood said. “Clearly, hybrid work is inevitable, as companies redesign office space and employees expect and demand more flexibility in where they work. However, employees and executives do not always agree on the extent of hybrid work. This will be an ongoing issue and one that each employer will need to determine based on its own unique workforce and business requirements.”

Employers also are looking for ways to attract and retain employees in the current changing employment environment. A Randstad survey showed that 30 percent of employees who switched jobs during the pandemic did so for better benefits.

“At our event, we discussed many employee benefits and new strategies that can help employers become or remain an ‘employer of choice’,” Wood added. “In many cases, cost saving strategies on health plan design can help employers pay for benefit enhancements or produce budget savings that fall to their bottom lines.” Examples of these strategies were discussed at the Benchmarking Virtual Event.

Meagan Johnson’s presentation – Transforming Multi-Generational Teams in a Post-COVID World

Keynote speaker at today’s Virtual Event was Meagan Johnson, a nationally recognized multi-generational expert and generational explorer. She has educated through entertainment since 1998. Her clients include Harley-Davidson, CISCO, Comcast, Procter & Gamble, Starwood Resorts, Nestle Purina, American Health Care Association, Boeing, THE C.I.A. & Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. She has been quoted in many publications including: The Chicago Tribune,, & US News & World Report.

She is co-author of the best-selling book Generations, Inc., Managing the Friction between Generations at Work.

In her presentation, she identified and described differences among generations in our workforce, including signposts for each. These signposts are significant events or environments that shaped each generation.

She discussed each generation and their needs and wants. Baby Boomers want to know how technology will make their jobs or their lives easier. The majority of Millennials want to work for companies that care about the environment. GenZ job seekers look at the social media presence of a company as a reason they accept a job, and they want to personalize their work environment. The discussion also included how to best communicate with each generation in the workforce. For more information:

For more information about the Arizona Employee Benefits Benchmarking Survey or the survey results, contact Benefit Commerce Group at 480-515-5010 or or visit our website: