It’s been in the news frequently enough that most of us are at least vaguely aware that healthcare costs have been rising over the last several years. Anyone paying for health insurance is certainly more than vaguely aware of this. While employees are seeing higher deductibles and more expensive premiums, the impact on businesses is not negligible by any means.
Annual Premiums Rising
According to a 2018 report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage reached $19,616 this year, up 5% from last year, with workers on average paying $5,547 toward the cost of their coverage.
The average deductible among covered workers in a plan with a general annual deductible is $1,573 for single coverage. Fifty-six percent of small ﬁrms and 98% of large ﬁrms oﬀer health beneﬁts to at least some of their workers, with an overall oﬀer rate of 57%.
So, what is a business to do? A recent report from the International Foundation surveyed companies regarding their strategies for combating rising healthcare costs. Using these findings, the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans offers five techniques to help control rising healthcare costs:
- Case management services to identify barriers that may prevent individuals from getting the best care (71%);
- Nurse advice lines that provide a 24-hour resource for employees to receive answers to their health-related questions (68%);
- Prior authorization requirements to determine whether a treatment is medically necessary (65%);
- Healthcare claims utilization analysis to pinpoint the top health concerns of their workforce and to address areas of concern (61%); and
- Telemedicine, which allows healthcare professionals to evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients online or over the phone (63%).
While employers often have less control over healthcare costs than other costs in running their business, they are not completely helpless. As the strategies above demonstrate, companies around the country are taking steps to help mitigate the financial impact of increased healthcare costs.