Employer coverage

The hot new corporate health care trends are old and lukewarm

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Large employers from the Rust Belt to Silicon Valley are turning inward as they try to find cheaper, higher-quality health care, embracing ideas like onsite clinics or direct contracts with specific hospitals.

Why it matters: Employer-based benefits are the backbone of the U.S. health care system. But for all the talk about revolutionizing the system, some of their most popular strategies for dealing with rising health care costs are old ideas that don’t exert much pressure on the system overall.

The growth of government health care

Health insurance companies used to collect a majority of their premium dollars from people who had coverage through their jobs, but their growing stake in running government health care programs has consumed a larger share of premiums over the past decade.

The big picture: Don't expect this to slow down. More low-income people have gained private Medicaid coverage through the Affordable Care Act, more states are privatizing their Medicaid programs, and more seniors are switching to privately run Medicare Advantage plans.