Big Firms to Cut Worker Health Options Next Year, 50% More Higher-Cost 'Consumer-Directed'
NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Workers may see some shifts in the structure and servicing of their health care plans as companies try to keep a lid on rising costs.
According to the corporate-backed National Business Group on Health — the board of directors is filled with executives from such companies as Coca-Cola, General Mills and IBM — costs for health care are set to rise by 6.5% next year, a figure that is a notch below 2014's average health care cost for large employers (at 7%).
The NBGH says companies will seek to curb costs by shifting their health care insurance programs. Consumer-directed health plans as an only offering to workers will grow by 50%. (Such plans are designed to get consumers to spend less on health care by exposing them "to the financial implications of their treatment decisions," according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Consumers use health savings accounts, flexible health spending accounts and health reimbursement accounts to pay for health care expenses directly, usually with high deductibles.)
- 73% of survey respondents (made up of senior executives at large companies) are expanding programs intended to make employees savvier or more careful health care consumers.
- 57% are adding or expanding consumer-directed health care plans.
- 53% are adding or expanding wellness programs.
- 33% of large firms now have in-house pharmacies.
- 73% of companies say they will pay for surgical procedures to treat "severe obesity."
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