A new study from the National Business Group on Health finds health benefit costs at large employers are expected to increase 6.5 percent in 2015, down slightly from a seven percent increase in 2014. Most employers, however, say they will be able to stem the increase in costs (and keep it around five percent) by making changes to their health benefit plans.
The annual survey, released by the non-profit association representing nearly 400 large U.S. employers, also finds more employers are increasing their cost-sharing provisions (so employees share in the increased cost of health insurance). Nearly three in four of those participating in the survey are adding or expanding tools to encourage employees to be better health care consumers, while others are imposing coverage surcharges or adopting stricter guidelines on coverage and pharmaceutical programs.
More than half (57 percent) are expanding or implementing consumer driven health plans (CDHPs), whiles 53 percent will add or expand wellness program incentives. Almost one-third of survey participants said they will offer a CDHP as their only health plan option in 2015, up from 22 percent in 2014.
Twenty-nine percent of companies taking part in the survey said they plan to impose surcharges on employees for spouse coverage if coverage is available through the spouse’s own employer. Three percent of employers said they will not cover a spouse if the spouse has other coverage options.