Employers Hesitant to Make Health Care Changes

December 2, 2013 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – Many employers are still on the fence when it comes to radical changes to their employee health benefits strategy.

A survey report by consulting firm Deloitte, “Health Care Costs, Benefits and Reform: What the Next Move for Employers?,” reveals employers are not pleased with the health care system. The report cites employers as saying that the system “fails to meet their needs for information transparency, price transparency and better value.” Obtaining better value, transparency and higher quality from health care are listed as imperatives by employers.

In addition, many employers are sitting on the fence with respect to any radical changes in their employee health care coverage strategy. Employee cost-sharing tactics are in place but there is a gap between what employers are currently using and tactics they think could have high impact in managing costs. To date, most are adopting a “wait and see” position on health insurance exchanges. Some are taking steps to help employees lower their health risks and manage their consumption of health care but could do more. Few appear to be evaluating any return on investment of wellness programs or undertaking claims analyses to drive insights and decision-making.

While employers believe the ACA will ultimately give more employees access to health care, there is doubt that it will also lower health care costs for employers. The report recommends employers seek other ways to lower their costs, including:

  • Shifting more responsibility for managing consumption and expenditures to employees;
  • Closing the gap between cost-saving tactics that they are currently using and tactics they believe could have a large cost-saving impact;
  • Taking steps to ensure greater employee engagement and behavior changes, with regard to health care, as well as lowering health risks; and
  • Evaluating the return on investment for wellness programs, or undertaking analyses to drive insights and decisionmaking.

More information about the report, including the full text and an executive summary, can be found here.