With nearly 2,600 employers participating in 2019, our annual health benefits survey is the largest of its kind. It is conducted using a national probability sample and results are weighted to represent all US employer health plan sponsors with 10+ employees.
This year’s results highlight three important trends in employer health program management: balancing affordability and choice, creating a culture of health, and moving from cost-shifting to future-focused strategies.
In 2019, amid concerns about health care affordability for lower-paid workers, most large and mid-sized employers hit pause on cost-shifting. And some employers that had offered an account-based high-deductible plan as the only medical plan available to employees reversed course and added a traditional PPO or HMO as an option.
The new focus on choice and personalization extends beyond the choice of health plans, the survey found. Employers added tech-enabled programs addressing specific health needs, such as mental health counseling, musculoskeletal conditions, and insomnia.
Managing high-cost claims is a top priority for 80% of large employers over the next five years, and for good reason: The incidence of high-cost claims is rising, along with the average size of these claims. For serious medical issues, care quality is critical to achieve better outcomes and lower cost.
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