Almost every employer will agree that one of their biggest financial challenges is rising healthcare costs. The price of healthcare has increased much faster than the rate of inflation in recent years, and healthcare costs now comprise on average more than 11 percent of employer spending on their employees. Additionally, healthcare laws have become so complex with the passage of the Affordable Care Act that many businesses need to hire attorneys just to ensure that they are in compliance with the law. Therefore, it is prudent for employers to look for ways that they can reduce their healthcare costs. Here are some that we have come up with:
High-Deductible Health Plans
These plans have higher deductibles, thus lowering the premiums that employers have to pay. By offering health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts, employers can help their employees cover the costs of these higher deductibles.
This is where employers contract directly with doctors and hospitals instead of insurance companies. Obviously, this is only feasible for larger employers, but it could be a creative way to save some money. Walmart does this, contracting with 12 high quality medical centers around the country for all spinal surgeries.
Direct Involvement in Managing Health Care Expenses
Some employers are taking a direct role in monitoring their employees’ health, providing incentives to stay-up-to-date with their treatments and prescriptions in order to reduce expensive last-minute emergency medical procedures.
Virtual care involves patients seeing doctors virtually. This has increasingly been done for radiology and mental health services. Virtual healthcare services can be more flexible than traditional medical services and can be less expensive due to lower overhead costs.