Top 5 Ways Employers Are Controlling Health Care Costs

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.

Top 5 Ways Employers Are Controlling Health Care Costs

The most popular techniques employers are using to control rising health care costs are:

  1. Case management services to identify barriers that may prevent individuals from getting the best care (71%)
  2. Nurse advice lines that provide a 24-hour resource for employees to receive answers to their health-related questions (68%)
  3. Prior authorization requirements to determine whether a treatment is medically necessary (65%)
  4. Health care claims utilization analysis to pinpoint the top health concerns of their workforce and to address areas of concern (61%)
  5. 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%).

Learn More:

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.

Brenda Hofmann
Communications Manager at the International Foundation

The Latest From Word on Benefits:


Communications Manager at the International Foundation

Favorite Foundation service/product: Today’s Headlines Benefits-related topics that grab her attention: Wellness, work/life balance, retirement security, parental leave policies and unique and trending perks.​ Favorite Foundation event: The day we wait all year for–National Employee Benefits Day! Personal Insight: Brenda goes with the flow and this approach to life puts everyone around her at ease. Brenda enjoys the mix of roles she plays from public relations pro to boy mom and wife.

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