A study by Cobalt Community Research the most common cost containment strategies being considered by local governments are:
- Increasing health insurance deductibles and copays;
- Increasing the employees’ share of premium costs;
- Implementing wellness programs;
- Expanding use of generic drugs;
- Implementing health savings accounts (HSAs) and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs);
- Negotiating lower costs with current carriers; and
- Educating employees/retirees to make better health care decisions.
According to a press release, few respondents plan to eliminate benefits. Approximately 78% of the survey respondents provide health care to their employees, and 30% also provide health care to retirees.
Only 27% of respondents have already increased deductibles over the past two years; only 19% implemented wellness programs; and only 15% expanded the use of generic drugs.
Of the local governments that provide retiree health care, 80% indicated they are aware of the GASB 45 reporting requirements. About 62% said they have already calculated the liability or the calculation is in process.
For governments who calculated their OPEB liability, 40% plan to fully or partially prefund the liability, while about 52% plan to continue a pay-as-you-go approach.
The study report is available for purchase at www.cobaltcommunityresearch.org/health .
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