3 in 4 Employers to Increase Health Plan Deductibles or Copays

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media , April 25, 2011

The majority of employers recognize the potential impact of employee health management on future plan costs with 57% willing to offer healthcare incentives, including lower deductibles to employees who make a reasonable effort to manage their chronic conditions.

Looking at safety and quality outcomes, only 44% of respondents believe physicians, hospitals, or the government should establish the standards. More than 33% said employers and employees should set the safety and quality requirements.

That said, 75% of employers believe the federal government should require hospitals, physicians, and insurers/health plans to publicly disclose all quality and cost information to provide employers and employees with the critical information needed to make informed decisions. Employers would also like the government to require insurers to disclose actual network discounts for claims.

Almost 1,300 employers responded to the on-line survey, which was conducted in February, 2011. Firms with fewer than 50 employees represent 87% of the respondents. Government and manufacturing industry categories each account for around 14% of the responses.

The survey looks at employer opinions and strategies in these areas: health benefits philosophy, health plan management, personal health management, scope of benefits and employee communications.

The full report will be available here on May 1.


Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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1 comments on "3 in 4 Employers to Increase Health Plan Deductibles or Copays"

Arun Potdar (4/26/2011 at 11:52 AM)
Similar survey results and articles have been produced in the past and this topic had been discussed in many forms. Employer based health care is a unique cost of doing business not found in many places in the developed or developing economies of the world. There are disadvantages associated with this type of overhead which becomes the cost of service or product and bad part is employer has no control over these costs nor has the expertise to set controls then why employer want to provide this benefit is a puzzling phenomenon. Healthcare is a necessity not a pleasure so attracting employees via health benefit is not necessarily the only way. Helping the employee to buy health insurance is much more sensible approach. The almost no competition situation in the market and fragmented controls on the insurance providers does not help in controlling costs. Passing the costs on employees in form of higher deductibles and coinsurances is also counterproductive. Financial barriers to care have care avoidance effect that leads to expensive treatment necessities on the long run and productivity losses due to chronically sick employees defeats the purpose of giving the health benefits. This is a vicious cycle and employers should rethink this if they want to be competitive in the global markets. Nations providing healthcare to their work force in fact subsidize the production of goods and services but in the US we do the opposite; burden them. Once a benefit is offered it becomes entitlement and labor unions demand better and costly benefits if the employer is doing well just look at what happened to American Auto Industry. Among other reasons cost of labor was the primary item in eighties and nineties that made Japanese and German Cars more affordable. There has to be an alternative to this burdening the American Businesses with the cost of social necessities of our population. Just imagine if managing Medicare and VA was the responsibility of all American Businesses where would we be against Europe and Asian competitions.




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