Benefit Trends in 2011

Posted by CFR Multimedia
CFR Multimedia
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on Tuesday, 19 July 2011
in Benefits Buzz

As your company has likely experienced, health care costs were expected to rise between 5 and 11 percent in 2011, according to several reputable surveys and research groups.

Several causes were cited, including the slow economic recovery and increased health care utilization; the most notable factor was the cost to implement various health care reform provisions.

Faced with this cost increase and the expectation of continued rising costs, employers shared in these surveys various strategies they were utilizing or considering to control health care costs.

trends

As your company has likely experienced, health care costs were expected to rise between 5 and 11 percent in 2011, according to several reputable surveys and research groups.

Several causes were cited, including the slow economic recovery and increased health care utilization; the most notable factor was the cost to implement various health care reform provisions.

Faced with this cost increase and the expectation of continued rising costs, employers shared in these surveys various strategies they were utilizing or considering to control health care costs.

Cost-management strategies employers reported using or considering include:

  • Offer financial rewards for good health, such as lower premiums for employees who participate in wellness programs. May also include penalizing employees for unhealthy habits like smoking.
  • Increase employee cost sharing.
  • Transition from copays to coinsurance, so employees are more aware of health care costs.
  • Conduct dependent audits and encourage spouses to enroll in their employer’s plan when available.
  • Increase efforts to promote preventive care.
  • Enhance voluntary benefit offerings or shift programs to strictly voluntary.
  • Offer a health savings account (HSA).
  • Implement more incentive-based programs.
  • Increase employee health education and provide resources for managing their health care expenses.
  • Encourage use of generic medications.
  • Offer onsite health clinics, nurses and/or coaches for employees to access.

Sources: Hewitt Associates, Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research & Educational Trust, Mercer, Milliman, Inc., The Segal Group, PriceWaterhouseCooper

 

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