Employers are finding new ways to cut health care costs

Employers are finding new ways to cut health care costs

Seniors swap hospital visits for iPads

Employers are getting extra concerned of their staff’ health care so as to maintain costs below management.

A rising variety of firms are contracting immediately with hospitals and suppliers to take care of their staff, in accordance to an annual survey launched Tuesday by the National Business Group on Health, an trade group targeted on massive firms. Some 11% mentioned they may do that in 2019, up from three% this yr.

General Motors (GM) and Henry Ford Health System in Detroit introduced such a contract on Monday. The six-hospital system will present entry to greater than three,000 major care and specialty medical doctors, in addition to hospital, emergency room and pharmacy companies, by means of GM’s new “ConnectedCare” plan possibility.

Nearly 24,000 salaried staff in Southeast Michigan and their households will probably be ready to select this coverage, which is able to begin subsequent yr. The settlement additionally gives wellness exams, persistent care monitoring and preventative screenings, in addition to immediate appointments with suppliers and digital go to choices.

“GM’s upcoming ConnectedCare option comes from our ongoing quest to improve employee health, while also seeking to offset rising health care costs for both the employee and the company,” mentioned Sheila Savageau, US healthcare chief at GM.

Related: Carl Icahn: Cigna’s merger with Express Scripts rivals ‘worst in corporate history’

Also gaining popularity are direct contracts between firms and suppliers to deal with sure dear situations, resembling most cancers, heart problems, fertility therapies and orthopedic wants. Some 18% of firms mentioned they are negotiating these offers for 2019, up from 12% this yr, in accordance to the survey.

Employers are additionally offering extra digital care choices for his or her staff, with half saying that is their prime health care initiative for 2019. Telemedicine is just one element of this effort. Virtual care additionally encompasses apps that present digital teaching, persistent situation administration and distant monitoring. Some firms are additionally offering entry to digital bodily remedy and psychological care.

These adjustments come as health care costs proceed to rise. Employers challenge the overall price ticket for offering medical and pharmacy advantages subsequent yr will rise 5% for the sixth consecutive yr to a median of $14,800. Companies cowl roughly 70% of that value.

Related: The $54 million hospital without any beds

Companies are additionally realizing they can not maintain pushing the burden onto their staff within the type of greater deductibles and out-of-pocket costs. In reality, for the primary time in 4 years, the variety of corporations providing high-deductible health plans as the one alternative is dropping, slipping to 30% for 2019, down from 39% this yr.

“No longer able to rely on traditional cost sharing techniques to manage costs, a growing number of employers are taking an activist role in shaking up how care is delivered and paid for,” mentioned Brain Marcotte, CEO of the National Business Group on Health.

CNNMoney (New York) First printed August 7, 2018: three:55 PM ET



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