Each year, employers face rising health care costs and must carefully consider the actions they will take to control spending while continuing to deliver effective health care coverage.
A recent report from the International Foundation examines the prevalence of employer cost-management techniques used by corporate employers across the United States.
The most popular techniques employers are using to control rising health care costs are:
- 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%)
- Health care claims utilization analysis to pinpoint the top health concerns of their workforce and to address areas of concern (61%)
- Telemedicine, which allows health care professionals to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients online or over the phone (63%)
Other common techniques include dependent eligibility audits (43%), four tiers for cost-sharing (40%), price transparency/comparison tools (38%), health care claims audits (37%) and health care consumer education (36%).
Telemedicine stands out as the fastest growing health care cost-management technique among employers. In 2016, 44% of employers offered telemedicine options. By 2018 that percentage had jumped to 64%.
Smaller but still significant numbers of employers are using other cost-management techniques like spousal surcharges or carve-outs, where spouses are discouraged or blocked from enrolling in the plan (25%), and opt-out incentives, where participants are monetarily encouraged not to enroll in their health care plan (13%).
The data above comes from the International Foundation Employee Benefits Survey: 2018 Results. The report examines the entire spectrum of benefits today’s employers are providing, including health care, retirement and work/life perks.
Communications Manager at the International Foundation
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