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Large Employers Trimming Healthcare Spending

Christopher Cheney, for HealthLeaders Media, August 15, 2014

Big companies are taking a broad range of actions to cut spending on employee healthcare benefits. That means higher costs for workers, a push for more consumer engagement, and greater use of telemedicine.


Trotter

Brian Marcotte
President and CEO of NBGH

Large employers are facing a balancing act next year, simultaneously shifting healthcare costs to their workers and ramping up healthcare consumer engagement efforts, according to a National Business Group on Health survey of 400 companies.

During a press briefing Wednesday that unveiled the survey, NBGH President and CEO Brian Marcotte said 2015 marks a healthcare cost-cutting turning point for employers and workers. "If there is any year the employee is going to focus on the healthcare packet, this is the year," he said of the benefits enrollment season leading up to Jan. 1.

A key finding of the survey is the expectation among large employers that they will be able to contain the growth of 2015 healthcare costs to 5%. Overall healthcare costs are forecast to rise 7%, but employers expect their internal cost-cutting measures will pare 2%off growth in their healthcare spending.

Workers should expect the cost of their 2015 employer-sponsored healthcare coverage to hike about 5%, Marcotte said.

Large employers are using a range of measures to trim the costs of providing health insurance to their workers, the NBGH survey found. In addition to relatively traditional cost-sharing measures such as deductibles and co-pays, employers are increasingly turning to consumer-directed health plans and consumer "decision-support tools" to drive down healthcare costs, Marcotte said in an interview after Wednesday's press briefing.

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