In an effort to combat rising health care benefit costs, larger U.S. employers are already preparing to alter their organizations’ health benefit plans for 2015.
According to a recent survey conducted by the National Business Group on Health, the anticipated 6.5% increase in health care benefit costs will greatly impact the types of support tools, consumer-directed plans, and overall coverage offered in the upcoming years.
Of the 136 survey respondents, nearly 50% of employers are looking to provide a consumer-directed health plan (CDBH) as the sole health benefit plan for next year. And with 30% planning on eliminating one or more of their costly plans, employees’ plan options will be noticeably reduced.
In order to further offset the cost of health care benefits, employers will also be expanding their wellness program incentives or disincentives, and will be offering new and improved online support systems and cost-comparison tools—equipping employees with the knowledge they need to efficiently select their health plans.
The ongoing increase in costs for health benefit plans is also affecting employers’ perceptions of the private exchange. Although only 3% of larger employers are offering their staff health insurance through the private exchange in 2015, over 1/3 of employers are planning on providing this option in the upcoming years. But until employers can gauge whether or not a private exchange is more cost-effective than their current practices, most organizations will stay with what they know.
With all of the anticipated plan changes, the health care benefit costs at large employers are only expected to increase by 5%.
Learn more about how the health care benefit costs are affecting employers’ benefit plan designs here.