The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP) took a look at the various ways employers are trying to control health care costs.
The most common method is case management services to identify barriers that are preventing workers from getting the best care, used by 71% of employers. This is followed by nurse advice lines that provide 24-hour access to nurses who can answer health-related questions (68%), prior authorization requirements to determine if a treatment is necessary (65%), health care claims utilization analysis to pinpoint top health care concerns of their workforce (61%) and telemedicine, through which workers can speak with health care professionals about their conditions over the phone.
In addition, employers are using other means, including dependent eligibility audits (43%), four tiers for cost-sharing (40%), price comparison tools (38%), health care claim audits (37%), health care consumer education (36%), spousal surcharges or carve-outs (25%) and opt-out incentives (13%).
“Telemedicine stands out as the fastest-growing health care cost-management technique among employers,” says Julie Stich, associate vice president of content at the IFEBP. “In 2016, 44% of employers offered telemedicine options. By 2018, that number had jumped to 64%. Employees appreciate the 24/7 convenience of telemedicine, and both employers and employees see savings because costly trips to urgent care clinics or emergency rooms might be avoided.”
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