How employers are tackling health costs
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Employers have more power over our health care system than anyone else, and they're getting more creative with how to wield it to lower costs, according to a new survey of large employers.
Why it matters: U.S. health care spending is going to become increasingly unsustainable until employers — which cover a plurality of Americans — decide they've had enough.
- The survey, conducted by the National Business Group on Health, is another sign that they're getting closer to that point.
- A PwC report recently predicted that 2020 will be "a year in which more employers fight back."
Details: The survey reflects 147 large employers covering 15 million people.
- It found that employers are increasingly focused on primary care, as prevention is a lot more cost-effective than treatment.
- 34% of the employers said primary care will be available on or near the worksite next year, and 24% said they'll steer patients to physician-based alternative care organizations or high performance networks.
Additionally, employers are grappling with how to handle the services that do drive their high costs.
- More than a quarter are expanding their use of centers of excellence in areas like orthopedics and fertility, and many said they're considering alternate ways of paying for new million-dollar specialty drugs.
Yes, but: Even with these strategies, costs are still expected to rise by 5%.