Typical large and midsize U.S. employers are seeing health coverage costs increase about 9% this year, but 9.6% have succeeded at making health costs fall or hold steady.
The employers with stable health costs said their costs are falling or holding steady even before taking the effects of plan changes into account, according to researchers at the consulting arm of Aon Corp., Chicago.
The researchers included those results in a summary of results from a recent benefits and talent survey that drew on responses from 2,172 employers. About 57% of the participating employers have 501 or more employees.
Only 6.3% of the participating employers said their health costs are increasing 20% or more this year, before plan changes, researchers write.
Participating employers are considering many different health management and wellness options, such as encouraging employees to exercise more, to cut costs, but many are hostile toward the idea of cutting costs by shifting to account-based health plan designs or reducing the scope of family coverage options.
About 25% said they are not planning to restrict coverage for spouses, 32% said they are not planning to offer consumer-driven health plans on a full-replacement basis, and 24% said they are not planning to offer consumer-driven health plans even as an option.
Some other ideas rejected by 25% or more of the participants include setting up an on-site fitness center or medical clinic, buying coverage through a coalition, self-insuring, linking health coverage contributions to salary, and offering wellness program participation incentives of $300 or more per employee.