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It’s probably no surprise to hear that medical expenses and health plan premiums will increase again in 2022. Experts predict a 6.5% increase in medical expenses alone, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. And employers anticipate that health plan premiums may rise more than 5% in 2022, according to a Willis Towers survey.
To rein in benefits spending, employers may want to strategize methods. Here are four ways to help.
Health Care Literacy
In recent years, there has been a push for better health care literacy. The thought is that if employees better understand their health care options, they can save money and improve their overall well-being.
The more educated employees are about their health care topics, the most money they can potentially save. Employees should be taught basic concepts such as when to visit the emergency room versus an urgent care, the difference between coinsurance and deductibles, and how to price shop for services. The education employers invest in now will pay for itself later through healthier employees and reduced health expenses.
During the pandemic, many employers and employees embraced telemedicine, which allows a person to visit their doctor over the internet.
As of mid-2021, 46% of consumers were using telemedicine to replace in-person health visits. Additionally, 76% of consumers said they were interested in using telemedicine going forward, according to a McKinsey and Company survey. Employers can look into offering or expanding their current telemedicine offerings for employees.
Prescription Drug Policy Revisions
Prescription drug offerings are great additions to health plans, but they can sometimes increase costs if not used properly. Employees will need to be educated about their drug plan, name brand vs. generic prescriptions, how to shop around for the best prices, etc. Arming them with this information will help them make smarter choices and keep costs low.
Alternative Plan Modeling
One common way to reduce benefits costs is to increase employees’ share of expenses. This could be done through premium increases but may cause more problems for an employer. A more careful approach to lowering expenses may be done through alternative plan modeling. Instead of a traditional health plan, employers can think about other plan designs that can still benefit employees without excessive costs like consumer driven health plans or self-funding. Each of these plan types has its own advantages and disadvantages, depending upon the organization’s unique circumstances.
There are many ways to control benefit spending, but they may not all work for each organization. It’s important for employers to closely analyze their health plan data and assess where they spend the most to help create a successful strategy.
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This blog is intended to be a compilation of information and resources pulled from federal, state, and local agencies. This is not intended to be legal advice. For up to the minute information and guidance on COVID-19, please follow the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and your local health organizations.
National Insurance Services is not a law firm and no opinion, suggestion, or recommendation of the firm or its employees shall constitute legal advice. Readers are advised to consult with their own attorney for a determination of their legal rights, responsibilities and liabilities, including the interpretation of any statute or regulation, or its application to the readers’ business activities.