Employers continue to use traditional cost-shifting approaches to control health care costs

Employers appear to be in a “wait and see” mode with regard to health care cost increases-rather than considering broad, transformational changes, they continue to use traditional cost-shifting approaches to control cost increases, according to recent research from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). The Health & Well-being Touchstone Survey found that 57 percent of employers expect to continue to increase employee contributions in the next three years, while 38 percent plan to increase employee-cost sharing through plan design changes.

In 2016, the average health plan increase was 6.8 percent before plan design changes and 3.6 percent after plan design changes. Employers expect the same trends in 2017: 6.0 percent before plan design changes and 3.2 percent after plan design changes.


The survey found that 73 percent of employers offer a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), and 25 percent have adopted a full-replacement HDHP. An additional 28 percent are considering adopting an HDHP-only strategy in the next three years.


Seventy-nine percent of employers offer wellness programs, and 63 percent offer disease management programs, according to PwC. In addition, 42 percent are considering expanding wellness initiatives by increasing the number and variety of programs available to employees.


The survey found that 93 percent of employers would not change employee or benefit eligibility for benefits if the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements for full-time employees are repealed. In addition, if the ACA were repealed, participants would be most likely to continue to pay 100 percent for preventive services (72 percent would continue); not institute preexisting conditions limits (63 percent), and keep waiting periods under 90 days (60 percent).

SOURCE: http://www.pwc.com/us/touchstone2017

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