Healthcare remains a priority for employers, and most are taking action to prepare for increasing cost, risk and change but as the evolution of the healthcare industry continues, they will come to realize that a traditional ‘managed trend’ approach will be less effective in mitigating costs increases over time. As the health care landscape continues to evolve, employers will actively seek to reduce costs using a mix of traditional and non-traditional approaches. These include:
Innovative Approaches to Providing Employer-Sponsored Coverage – Private health exchanges are becoming increasingly attractive to organizations that want to offer employees health care choice while lowering future cost trends and lessening the administrative burden associated with sponsoring a health plan.
In this model, employers continue to financially support health insurance, but allow employees to choose from multiple group plan options and insurance carriers via a competitive, health insurance marketplace.
Plan Design Strategies – Consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs) have surpassed health maintenance organizations (HMOs) as the second most popular plan option offered by employers. A growing number of employers are offering CDHPs as the only plan option.
Managing Dependent Eligibility and Subsidies – Many employers are reassessing the way they offer and subsidize health coverage for dependents. Specifically, they are:
- Reducing the employer subsidy for covered dependents.
- Implementing or increasing surcharges for adult dependents with access to coverage elsewhere.
- Adopting a unitized pricing approach, where employers charge per dependent.
- Assessing the eligibility of covered dependents in their plans.
Increased Cost Sharing – As health care costs increase overall, the amount of money employees will need to contribute out of their paychecks—both in premiums and out-of-pocket costs—is continuing to climb. This includes shifting from fixed dollar copayments to coinsurance models, where employees pay a percentage of the out-of-pocket costs for each health care service and also increasing deductibles out of pocket limits and cost sharing for use of non-network providers.
Wellness and Health Programs – With employers facing the impacts of rising health care costs and declining health of the population, employees can expect to see more employers offering programs that encourage them to take a more active role in managing their health.
New Provider Payment Strategies – A growing number of employers want to ensure that the health care services they are paying for are actually leading to improved patient outcomes and are seeking to hold providers more accountable.