Given the number of Americans they insure and their collective purchasing power, employers are pivotal players in today’s healthcare system. As the Affordable Care Act and other healthcare policies undergo change, employers have the chance to use their voice to promote healthcare reform that will benefit all.
Healthcare Reform and American Employers
The stakes in the healthcare market are high. Employers today cover 177 million US employees and spend $668 billion on healthcare. By contrast, only about 20 million people are covered through the ACA’s public exchanges -- yet many of the proposed changes to the ACA will affect employer-sponsored coverage. That’s why it’s so important that any policy change be considered in light of the impact it will have on employers’ ability to provide employees with quality health insurance at a sustainable cost.
At Mercer, we believe that policy makers and US employers have an opportunity to work together to create a better, more efficient system for all. In fact, because of their significant role in the marketplace, employers are uniquely positioned to help control healthcare spending and promote positive health outcomes.
Beyond the ACA: Four Recommendations for Policymakers
Drawing on our deep experience of working with employer and government health plan sponsors as well as health care providers, Marsh & McLennan Companies (MMC) has four recommendations for policymakers as they pursue reform.
- Avoid policies that shift costs to private payers; adopt policies that address underlying causes of healthcare cost growth.
- Maintain favorable tax treatment of employer-sponsored benefits
- Make Health Savings Account (HSA) rules more flexible
- Administration should create “President’s Healthcare Leadership Council” to drive transformative change and boost transparency in healthcare
The fourth recommendation is critical. Healthcare in the US is on the cusp of a major transformation to a more efficient, higher-performing system. But innovation is still happening in silos and not enough people are seeing the benefit. It’s time to fix healthcare.
Mercer’s sister company and co-author of the point of view, Oliver Wyman, recently published some additional perspectives on health reform and American businesses – click here
How Employers Can Lead the Healthcare Transformation
Watch our animated video on the employer-led healthcare transformation to learn how organizations like yours can start to think and act differently to effect change.