07 Mar Increases in Healthcare Costs Outpace Wages and Inflation
We continue to see healthcare costs rise at an incredible pace, placing an additional burden on employees.
As an employer, it is important to understand this trend and how it affects your workforce and to look for ways to balance costs to remain competitive.
A few of the facts:
- Aon’s 2019 Global Medical Trend Report shows that in 2019 the global average medical trend rate was 7.8% and the average general inflation rate was 2.8%
- According to Mercer’s 2018 National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health plans, overall cost growth remains moderate, averaging 3.3% annually over the past five years compared to 5.7% over the prior 10-year period, but continues to outpace inflation and the growth of workers’ earnings.
- A Kaiser Family Foundation Employer Health Benefits Survey states that on average, workers this year are contributing $5,547 toward the cost of family coverage, with employers paying the rest. Since 2008, average family premiums have increased by 55%, twice as fast as workers’ earnings (26%) and three times as fast as inflation (17%).
- Additionally, 85% of covered employees have a deductible in their coverage plan, a 4% increase from the year prior and a 59 percent increase from a decade ago. The average single deductible now stands at $1,573. The average deductible in 2008 was $735.
- The foundation estimates that these factors have resulted in a 212 percent increase in burdens of deductibles on covered employees.
What can you do to best support your workforce and remain competitive?
Focusing on cost containment plus promoting a culture of health by encouraging healthy behaviors and offering annual tests and physicals, supports long term health and overall engagement and productivity.
Cost Containment Strategies + Plan Design Changes
Cost containment strategies vary, but some may include the elimination of unreasonable plan uses, the introduction of alternate plan designs, negotiation of premium costs with carriers, and development of programs that will reduce chronic medical conditions.
Focusing on improved access and affordability support a long-term sustainable success strategy. One such strategy includes the offering of telemedicine services as well as medical opinion services, programs targeting chronic health problems, and access to centers of excellence (COE) for surgeries and a growing range of other complex treatments.
Create a Culture of Health
A culture of health is broadly defined as one in which good health and well-being foster healthy equitable communities, allowing everyone the opportunity to make choices that lead to healthy lifestyles. Supportive cultures are important determinants in lasting lifestyle improvement and long-term health outcomes. Some of the largest influencing factors affecting health today include:
- Poor nutrition
- Poor stress management
- Physical inactivity
Creating an internal culture of health begins with shared values, established norms, support, and positive social climate. Provide, encourage and support opportunities for employees to complete health risk assessments – questionnaires about enrollees’ medical history, health status, and lifestyle. Offer biometric screenings, health examinations conducted by a medical professional.
- Facilitate the management of chronic health conditions
- Prevent/reduce the risk of accidents and illness
- Detection: Help employees understand their health risks and steps to improve it
- Encourage healthy behaviors
- Promote wellness and provide coaching
Consider offering financial incentives for participation in these and other wellness programs.
How can we help?
Compensation Works will work with you to assess your current benefits package and recommend the best approach for you to help you control costs, support your workforce and remain competitive in the market.