|Used in 2012||Planned for||Considering for|
|2013||2014 or 2015|
|Change plan options||14%||21%||42%|
|Significant reduction in subsidization of coverage for spouses/dependents||6%||7%||31%|
|Use spousal waivers or surcharges (when other coverage is available)||20%||4%||25%|
“2013 is a bridge year to a new, emerging health care landscape,” said Randall Abbott, senior health care consulting leader at Towers Watson. “In response to continued cost escalation, the rapidly changing provider marketplace and the many provisions of health care reform, employers are working to deliver greater value for each dollar spent on health care. This will translate into new plan options, new approaches to care delivery and a marked shift to narrow provider networks. While these changes may not be immediately evident in 2012 and 2013, employees should be on the lookout next year for new health care plan designs that encourage them to make more informed decisions or bear a greater financial burden as a consequence.”Specifically, employees will see new plans emerging that provide different levels of coverage based on cost or quality, new networks of high-quality providers and new modes of care delivery such as retail care, telemedicine and employer-sponsored onsite health coaching. They can also expect more interactive tools for selecting medical providers and services based on price and quality. At the same time, more employers will offer incentives for selection and use of high-performance networks, directly contract with medical providers (e.g., physicians, hospitals) and specialty vendors, and adopt new payment methodologies. “As we move toward a post-reform environment, employers will sharpen their focus on new solutions to leverage emerging delivery system shifts, new technologies and holding employees more accountable for their personal health decisions. As a result, employees will be given more information, data and choices than ever before,” said Ron Fontanetta, senior health care consulting leader at Towers Watson. “The next few years will mark a major reshaping of how health care is delivered — but to control costs and improve workforce health, both employers and employees must prepare for the changes ahead.”
Other areas where significant change is possible by 2014 include:
- Outcome-based initiatives. The use of reward or penalties based on biometric outcomes (e.g., achievement of target BMI, cholesterol level) could skyrocket in the next two years. Currently, 13% of employers use such incentives, but 9% plan to add them in 2013, and another 52% are considering them for 2014 or 2015.
- Account-based health plans (ABHPs). Six percent of employers plan to add ABHPs for 2013, and another 19% are considering adding them in 2014 or 2015. While 12% currently offer an ABHP as their only plan option, this percentage could climb to 46% by 2014.
- Employer sponsorship of retiree medical plans. Nearly six in 10 (59%) employers are somewhat to very likely to discontinue their sponsorship of retiree medical plans for post-65 retirees in 2014 or 2015. Instead, many employers will direct retirees to private Medicare exchanges.