Insider News: Nov. 14, 2019

Posted by AllWays Health Partners blog team on November 14, 2019

This week, learn about the latest health care-related employer trends: from benefit spending to plan offerings. We also have a survey of younger generations, with findings that show an inability to participate in wellness activities due to cost.

Survey: 'Best-in-class' employers more likely to spend $15,000 or more annually per employee on benefits

A Gallagher survey of mid-size and large employers identified best practices and common philosophies among top-tier employers. It found both midsize and large best-in-class employers are more likely to equip their workforce with health care decision-support tools that allow employees to compare different service provider and treatment costs and plan for upcoming expenses. Among the findings: 

  • In 2019, large employers named best-in-class for health care cost control were more than twice as likely to say their organizations didn't increase cost sharing in any way in 2019. To achieve this, large best-in-class employers were strategic about identifying and removing waste and unutilized benefits from their systems. They frequently offered second-opinion services that focus on better outcomes to ensure the correct diagnosis and optimal treatment plans.

  • Rather than treating compensation and benefits as simply the "cost of doing business," the best-in-class for HR management were more likely to spend $15,000 or more annually for each eligible employee's benefits package.

  • To drive higher participation rates, the best-in-class midsize employers were more likely to use financial incentives, such as contributions to employees' HRAs, HSAs and FSAs. This group was also more likely to offer an array of elective options, such as autism treatment and infertility services or fertility treatment.

  • Like their midsize counterparts, the large best-in-class group was focused on keeping employees healthy to reduce costs and improve productivity. The group was more likely to include biometric screening, weight management and physical activity programming. It was also more likely to include a financial wellness component. 

Employers offering more health plan options, reducing reliance on HDHPs  

For the third year in a row, the percentage of companies that offer high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) as the sole option will decline in 2020, according to a survey of large employers by the National Business Group on Health. A quarter of the firms polled will offer these plans as the only option next year, down 14 percentage points from two years ago.

However, 58% of covered employees worked at companies that offered at least one HDHP in 2019, according to a KFF survey of employer health benefits. That was second only to the 76% of covered workers who were at firms that offered a PPO plan. According to the NBGH survey, employers that opted to add more choices to what they offered employees typically chose a traditional PPO plan.

Gen Zs, Millennials cut back on wellness activities due to healthcare costs: Survey  

A Lively survey found the majority of Gen Z and Millennials have cut back spending on wellness activities due to health care costs, including decreased spending on hobbies (42%) and putting off or canceling vacation plans (31%). They’re also not able to afford preventative care (63%) and are being forced to forego retirement savings (29%) and debt repayment (31%). Other key findings include: 

  • 52% of adults have had to prevent or delay important financial milestones as a result of healthcare costs.

  • Nearly 80% of Americans agree that rising health costs make it difficult to save for retirement and prevent financial independence.

  • Gen Z is the most likely group to put off going to the doctor (59%) or only go when something catastrophic happens (38%).

  • Two out of every three Gen Zers (63%) have avoided a doctor’s recommendation due to cost. 

Topics: Insider News

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