Based on the latest data on the healthcare costs incurred by American businesses, employers are in need of new strategies. According to research conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average annual premium is now $7,470 for a single employee and $21,342 for family coverage; a 54% increase over the prior ten years.
Of these costs, employees incur a small percentage (i.e., 7% on average for single employees and 27% for employees with family coverage). The lion’s share lies with the employer/plan sponsor. The good news is that employers that implement best practices and effective strategies to reduce their healthcare costs are successful. Here are some of these measures for lowering healthcare costs:
- Regularly review healthcare spending data so that informed decisions can be made to address high-cost areas.
- Assess your costs on a regular basis against industry benchmarks to make sure your spending is in line with these parameters. If your business’ costs are considerably higher than the industry averages, ask why and take steps to bring them in line.
- Rely on telemedicine and related platforms to reduce the number of unnecessary employee visits to hospital Emergency Departments, Urgent Care centers, and doctors’ offices.
- Use medical care management services to help manage the healthcare of employees with complex medical conditions and/or co-morbidities such as high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, etc. Experienced case managers can play a vital role in educating employees about their conditions and encouraging their adherence to their treatment plans. They can provide utilization management services and also collect important healthcare data that can then be used to gain more insight into spending patterns so that the right cost control measures can be taken.
- Utilize a pharmacy benefit management program, as well as a service to contain the high costs of specialty drugs such as biologics that are injected or infused.
- Establish a targeted employee wellness program that incorporates wellness coaching, and educational webinars on healthy eating, exercise programs, preventive health screening tests and mental health strategies. Provide financial incentives or other rewards to incentivize employees’ participation and good health and fitness habits.
- Incorporate voluntary benefits into your employee benefits program. Not only does this shift the costs from the employer to the employee, but it also enables employees to select insurance products that best meet their specific needs.