SHRM Survey Highlights Employers’ Great Concern Over Controlling Health Care Costs

More than three-quarters (79 percent) of organizations that provide health care coverage to their employees are very concerned about controlling health care costs, according to the latest Strategic Benefits—Health Care Survey report from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Over the past three years, the percentage of companies indicating that their health care costs went up has remained about the same, yet high, at 69 percent to 74 percent. To halt some of the increasing costs, one-half of organizations indicated that they increased employee contributions to health care costs in 2014, while about one-quarter (26 percent) of organizations said they planned to increase employees’ share in 2015.

“A growing number of employers are asking employees to contribute a larger percentage of their health care costs,” said Evren Esen, director of SHRM’s survey programs. “But it is important that employers fully assess the potential impact of such a change, especially in today’s improved job market. Shifting health care costs to employees can lower employee job satisfaction and pose a barrier for attracting new talent.” Almost one-fifth (19 percent) of organizations that provide health care coverage indicated that the use of consumer-directed health plans, such as health reimbursement arrangements and health savings accounts, was the most successful tactic for controlling health care costs. About one-half of respondents said they utilized health and wellness educational initiatives (56 percent) and lower-cost generic prescription drugs (48 percent) to control costs. The survey captured the responses of 380 randomly selected SHRM members throughout the United States.

Source: Society for Human Resource Management.

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