Employers Take Some Blame for Health Care Costs

September 21, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - United Benefit Advisors' (UBA) first UBA/Ingenix Employer Opinion Survey on Healthcare found only 22% of employers believe the responsibility for controlling healthcare costs belongs to employees, physicians, and hospitals.

Most believe the insurers/health plans, government and the employers themselves are responsible, according to a UBA press release.

In addition, UBA said that an overwhelming majority of employers believe the federal government should require all hospitals, physicians, and insurers/health plans to publicly disclose all cost and quality information. “Employers are clearly fed up with being denied access to the cost and quality information that both employers and employees need and deserve in order to make informed health care purchasing decisions in advance of receiving care,” said David LoCascio, UBA’s co-founder, in the news release.

In fact, respondents to the survey predict that the requirement to publicly disclose all cost and quality information in advance of purchasing care or purchasing insurance will be a reality within the next five years.

Another significant change employers predict for the next five years is that employers will increasingly adopt a “total compensation” approach where employees will receive a single compensation amount they will then allocate between take-home pay, health benefits, retirement or savings plans, or non-health benefits according to their needs.

UBA says that the most prevalent cost containment strategies continue to be reducing benefits and/or increasing employee cost sharing. But employers are increasingly looking to High Deductible Health Plans which incorporate Heath Savings Accounts (HSAs) (See CDHP Chosen to Save Money and Raise Health-Consciousness ), wellness programs with individual risk assessments (See AON Survey Shows Wellness Programs Gaining Favor ), and expanded disease management programs to help employees manage chronic health conditions.

Copies of the survey of nearly 800 employers can be purchased on UBA’s Web site www.benefits.com .