Employers Shift Higher Health-Care Costs to Workers
By Rachel Emma Silverman
From The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Health-care costs at large U.S. businesses are expected to rise 6% in 2017, according to an annual survey of 133 major companies offering coverage to more than 15 million Americans by the National Business Group on Health, or NBGH, a nonprofit association that focuses on employer-provided health care.
About 84% of large employers will offer high-deductible health plans in 2017, and 35% of large employers will offer only high-deductible plans to their workforce, a slight increase from a year earlier, according to the NBGH survey.
Workers are likely to notice their employers institute cost-cutting measures to curb prescription drug costs. These include asking employees to pay the difference between generic and brand prices and to try less-expensive drugs before pricier ones, according to the NBGH research.
About 90% of large employers plan to make telehealth available to employees next year, a sharp increase from 70% this year, the NBGH research found, although the rules governing telemedicine differ widely by state. Employees, however, may need some prodding to contact doctors on their smartphones and computers. Human-resources executives say that they are seeing low, but growing, usage of telemedicine.
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