After pushing rising health care costs onto workers for years through higher deductibles and more cost-sharing, big employers are now taking on a more active role trying to control those costs directly, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Details: A whole lot of options are on the table, from direct purchasing agreements with hospitals to onsite clinics to the unusual program in Utah that pays people to travel to Mexico for their drugs.
- “We’re seeing a really keen interest in moving away from high deductibles and coinsurance,” Forrest Burke, chief executive of national markets at UnitedHealthcare, told the WSJ.
My thought bubble: Some of these tools are really only available to large employers, and don’t do much to change the underlying system in a way that would also provide spillover benefits to small businesses or individuals.
- At the same time, I still think that if there’s going to be a breaking point where direct government-driven cost control becomes more widely politically palatable, employers will be the ones who drive it.