How employers plan to control health costs in 2013

Some good news/bad news for employers.

On the bright side of the ledger, your strategies for health care cost control are working.

The Kaiser Family Foundation’s latest study of employer-sponsored health insurance among companies of all sizes reported annual premiums were up only 4% from the previous year. Another Towers Watson survey of larger companies found, since 2007, annual healthcare cost increases for larger companies have stabilized at historically low levels between 5% and 7%.

Both studies attribute the lower costs in part to two factors: Changes in plan design and increases in employee contributions.

Thankfully, the days of double-digit premium increases appear to be over. But then again, companies’ real goal is to reduce insurance costs, which are still increasing, albeit a slower rate, every year.

How can you accomplish this while still providing highly valued benefits to your employees? The right strategy will depend on your goals, budget and commitment to your employees’ health and well-being. Here are some of the things other employers are doing to control their costs with links to comparable offerings available from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

  • According to the Towers Watson large company survey, “More than ever, companies recognize that a healthy workforce can have an important effect on their organization and bottom line.”

―   40% are cultivating employee health and well-being as a central part of their strategy.

―   61% are using financial rewards for individuals who participate in health management programs/activities.

―   33% of companies are taking steps to educate and support more informed health care.

  • An online survey of  329 benefit decision makers at Michigan companies that offer health insurance to 25 or more employees found that more than 40%:

―   Encourage every employee to take a Health Risk Assessment.

―   Increased the share of premiums for employees and their spouses and dependents.

―   Offer a high deductible health plan.

  • A survey by the Midwest Business Group on Health of employers of all sizes found that 57% offer Consumer Directed Health Plans, which combine more employee choices with tax-advantaged savings accounts, and 62% are expected to do so by the end of 2013.

GlidePath

Rising benefit costs is a challenge for all companies. GlidePath, a new solution from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network, offers your mid-size company an innovative way to manage spending and risk. It can transform the way you finance your company’s health insurance coverage. With GlidePath’s defined-contribution solution, you can determine your company’s health benefit budget and simplify the administrative work that goes along with offering health benefits.

About Jeff Rubleski

Jeff Rubleski serves as Director of Sales Strategy for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and is a certified Healthcare Reform Specialist. Jeff serves as the GlidePath go-to-market lead in implementing this defined contribution solution for active and retired members. Prior to joining Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Jeff served as the Marketing Strategist and Chief Operating Officer for the Wellness Council of America, where he led the development of a complete line of wellness publications that are distributed to employees in organizations throughout the United States and Canada.
 
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