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US Employees Feel the Rub of Cost-Shifting

Jul 28, 2015

Nowadays, employers are shifting more healthcare costs to employees to help balance financial responsibilities. However while cost-shifting has slowed healthcare spending, the rising costs of deductibles and copays has grown at a pace faster than the average income – resulting in a difficult situation for consumers who are expected to bear more and more of these out-of-pocket costs. Because of this, recent studies report that consumers are delaying or out-right avoiding attending to their medical needs. In fact, even when services are covered (i.e. preventative care) consumers may still eschew them altogether.  In the end, higher out-of-pocket costs may lead to “people [making] decisions about care that isn’t in their best interests.”  

This can be a significant concern for organizations that want a healthy workforce for reasons ranging from productivity to retention. According to the Commonwealth Fund, “among those who don’t have enough insurance to pay their medical bills, 59 percent are covered through their employer.” 

So how to address the challenge of affordable healthcare options for both employer and employee?  Currently, employers are using health reimbursement accounts (HSAs), incentive plans, and wellness plans to support employees’ wellbeing.  There is a call for increased transparency around employer healthcare spending, more in-depth preventative care, and better legislation addressing the rate of medical costs and other holes in the ACA that impact end-consumers.  In addition, innovative new insurance approaches, such as partially self-funded plans, are cropping up that can significantly decrease organizational healthcare spending while ensuring high-quality and affordable employee benefits. 

As ACA policies continue to shift and grow, employers will need to develop healthcare approaches that keep pace without disrupting their workforce.  Addressing key issues such as ensuring that employees attend to critical medial needs will require creative solutions.  To learn more about the Nonstop Wellness approach to partially self-insured coverage, and how it can save you money, eliminate cost-shifting and support employee health, please contact us.

The information and materials herein are provided for general information purposes only and are not intended to constitute legal or other advice or opinions on any specific matters and are not intended to replace the advice of a qualified attorney, plan provider or other professional advisor. This information has been taken from sources believed to be reliable, but there is no guarantee as to its accuracy. This communication does not constitute a legal opinion and should not be relied upon for any purpose other than its intended educational purpose.

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